Friday, 23 September 2011

Lessons from PFI and other projects

PFI is on the news again, as hospitals all over the land are finding it hard to meet huge repayments every year, repayments of billions of pounds a year for some. As a result the hospitals will have to cut down on essentials and one way or the other, as the New Statesman prophetically said a couple of years ago, the taxpayer will once again foot the bill.

And it isn’t just hospitals: it’s schools, IT systems, housing or sewage and they all have two things in common. One, that the costs spiral out of control, from hundreds of thousands to billions of pounds, and two, that when things go wrong ( which they often do) it is very difficult to put them right!

And yet, our own City Council is planning to build a huge new incinerator using exactly that method of finance, a method that has proven to be costly and dangerous!!

When will they learn?

During the last forum meeting in Richmond Hill, once again, conveniently, there was no one available to talk finances.

We urge our councillors to reconsider, to calmly but diligently take a good look at the evidence and the experience of PFI schemes elsewhere in the country.

To quote Nick Cohen, “If you owe the bank £100, you're a debtor. If you owe £100m, you're a partner. The private finance initiative and public- private partnerships create de facto private monopolies. In utopian free-market theory, the customer can always shop elsewhere. With the PFI, the supplier has the customer by the throat”.

Let us learn the lessons from PFI projects, before it's too late!!

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