Laura Sharman 20 June 2018

MPs blast ‘unacceptable’ cost of PFI deals

A damning report has warned the Government is unable to prove that Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts offer value for money for the taxpayer.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has found the Treasury has no plans to assess the value for money of PFI and there is little evidence of sharing best practice. 

The report highlights examples of the unflexibility of PFI including the fact Liverpool City Council is paying £4m a year for a school that has been empty since 2014.

‘Much has changed in the past quarter-century but Government’s inability to answer basic questions about PFI remains undimmed,’ said Committee chair, Meg Hillier.

‘It beggars belief that such apparently institutionalised fuzzy thinking over such large sums of public money should have prevailed for so long.

‘The Treasury simply cannot support its assertion that PFI represents good value for money. Yet while Government is now seeking to collate the PFI data that does exist, it does not intend to publish the results of this work. This is unacceptable. Government must level with taxpayers about the value of PFI.’

The report added the government’s reform of PFI has been fairly limited, with only a handful of PF2 projects in the pipeline.

PAC added it had realised concerns as far back as 2011 and it is ‘disappointed; that so little progress has been made.

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