Friday, 19 August 2011

MPs highlight PFI costs

More evidence today on the cost of PFI from the Westminster Treasury Select Committee. Their report says that PFI is poor value for money and their should be a stricter criteria for its use.

The main recommendations are:

  • The Treasury should consider scoring most PFIs in departmental budgets in the same way as direct capital expenditure, adjusting departmental budgets accordingly;

  • the Treasury should discuss with the OBR the treatment of PFI to ensure that PFI cannot be used to ‘game’ the fiscal rules;

  • the Value for Money assessment process should be subjected to scrutiny by the NAO;

  • the Treasury should review the way in which risk transfer is identified.

  • These recommendations are remarkably similar to the points made by UNISON over many years. In Scotland we detailed these costs in our 'At What Cost' report. We are entitled to say 'told you so' based on an analysis of schemes going back more than a decade. If governments had listened then, the taxpayer would have been £millions better off and still had the new schools and hospitals. It is and never has been an either or option.

    Sadly there is no sign of PFI coming to an end. The UK government may be reigning back, but schemes are still being approved. The Scottish Government, through the Scottish Futures Trust, has approved a whole new programme of PFI schemes in Scotland. The next generation will continue to pay for this folly .

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