PFI Scotland

2314The sound of chickens coming home to roost can be heard all over Edinburgh as Labour’s disastrous PFI legacy hits home leaving 9,000 children affected by the closures of 10 primary and five secondary schools. But it’s not just about the schools.

In George Monbiot’s Captive State (2001) he points out that the Skye Bridge was Britain’s first PFI project (‘A scandal of secrecy and collusion’). As Nicholas Lezard wrote: “…in its breathtakingly cynical budgeting (the government – ie we – contributed £16 million, a tidy sum for something that the private sector was meant to be building by itself), and its contempt for the people who actually use it, symbolises and typifies everything that is wrong with letting private money into what should be state enterprises. What PFI seems to mean is this: the government washes its hands of all responsibility save that of making life difficult for those who object.”

PFI is rip-off Britain, started by the Tories continued by Labour. After twenty years of Tory rule with the country being bled dry by privatisation, New Labour arrived and seized on the practice. PFI was invented by John Major’s government, but it really thrived under Blair and Brown. Between 1997 and 2008, 90 per cent of all hospital construction funding was under PFI agreements.

What does PFI really stand for? Pretty Fucking Ironic.

CfnnpLrWQAEvy6hIf you want a single source reason for the Labour Party’s demise it can be traced back to this shoddy, short-sighted ideological travesty that sold out the public sector and ripped off the British public.

As Benedict Cooper wrote: “The NHS is riddled with extortionate debt from decades of misguided PFI deals. NHS hospitals owe £80bn in PFI loan unitary charges – in other words, the ongoing costs of maintaining PFI hospitals and paying back the loans. Next year alone, trusts will make some £2bn in repayments. Trusts like Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Trust, which is locked into making £40m in repayments a year on the PFI it took for Peterborough City Hospital, or Sherwood Forest NHS Trust, which is spending 15 per cent of its annual budget on the annual repayments on a PFI loan it took to expand the King’s Mill Hospital, and so on.

But there are plenty who do gain. The initial investment made by PFI companies is paid back in spades. As Joel Benjamin of Move Your Money points out: “Typically the unitary charge is three to five times the capital cost, and on more egregious PFI projects as high as seven times”.

PFI deals have been universally criticised as horrendous value for taxpayers, likened to “paying for a hospital on your credit card” by BBC Panorama. As Open Democracy states: “PFI rewires the relationship between the citizen and the state, so that our public services are no longer owned by, or directly accountable to us.”

It get’s worse. Scotland wasn’t just the testing ground for this disaster it has a far higher proportion than anywhere else. As Gerry Hassan points out: “Scotland has 40% of PPP/PFI schools with 8.5% of the population. That’s an even bigger scandal than the seventeen Edinburgh schools.”

As early as 2011 Eorpa revealed that some contracts for schools and hospitals included land leases that would last more than a century, even if the contract only lasted for thirty years (‘Warning over ‘shameful’ PFI leases lasting generations’). PFI was scrapped by the SNP when they came to power but Labour’s legacy will still be with us for years to come.

Comments (44)

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  1. Bert Logan says:

    One hopes those Labour voters with kids in Edinburgh are considering their choice. The Union served up PFI and it was drank deeply by Labour. Now, its appalling legacy and the brown envelope process is unfolding.

    Thanks Labour – disgusting legacy.

    1. Bill Steele says:

      It’s not being reported, however, that it was Labour that was the government when the schools were built. The finger is being pointed at the SNP government which inherited the mess. The message must be spread to the general public that Labour did the deed.

    2. Duncan MacIver says:

      Bella wrote:

      “The sound of chickens coming home to roost can be heard all over Edinburgh as Labour’s disastrous PFI legacy hits home leaving 9,000 children affected by the closures of 10 primary and five secondary schools.”

      I agree with every word, sadly the press and state broadcaster have sunk to further depths to shield labour in Scotland from this disastrous policy by not mentioning the elephant in the room, i.e. this was a labour flagship policy!

      You don’t get something for nothing, you have to pay for it!

      If you do not give a supplier the opportunity to make a “fair” profit, they will cut corners!

      You pay peanuts and you get monkeys!

      Edinburgh council seemed to be saying today the buildings were never signed off and no one really knows what happened. Unbelieveable!

      The policy came from on high from gordon brown then jack mcconnell then labour councils, the projects were then executed with out due process, quality assurance or safety reviews during construction. The responsibility lies with the council and those from London based labour who thought up and foisted these policies on Scotland!

      Never a truer phrase “labour isn’t working”, the ghosts of labour’s past coming back to haunt our kids, parents, teachers and society in general. Don’t let these labour clowns near the levers of power by risking your second vote on a party other than the SNP!

  2. jt1 says:

    More than any other policy – even Iraq- PFI should mean Labour’s destruction in Scotland. And never forget, Gordon Brown imposed it wherever he could.

  3. Penny says:

    The journalistic duty now is to publicize the names of those who profitted from PFI schools and the councillors who signed the agreements. We need specifics. Each school, how much, who got it, legal options for redress and the name of each and every government employee from Gordon on down who signed onto this travesty.
    Every civic minded person with inside information should leak that information..

    The cynicism: letting 18 year olds sign up to debt contracts to get an education; putting 5 year olds at risk in dodgy buildings and pensioners at risk is poisonous hospitals. Lets name names

    1. James Alexander says:

      Excellent article signalling time for a mature debate of how to move forward ONCE names have been named in the NHS and now the Schools Wall debacle!
      Pink Floyd touring “The Wall” is synchronicity!

      1. David Allan says:

        Council to absorbed in screwing up TRAM PROJECT , PFI mess – are the same folks responsible?

  4. Donaldinho says:

    Whilst sharing the understandable desire to rubbish both Conservative and Labour policies at every opportunity we must move the debate on and have a mature discussion on infrastructure funding models post independence. Our investment in infrastructure is woefully inadequate.

  5. John Cawley says:

    As well as hammering Labour and Lib Dems over this scandal, Amey’s involvement in Scottish Futures Trust infrastructure development needs to be looked at. If this scandal means Edinburgh City Council can drastically renegotiate the PFI contract to the benefit of taxpayers, then we should also look at SFT and, specifically, the presence of Ameyy as a stakeholder. This company are vast, and at the centre of PFI contracts in Scotland’s schools, hospitals and other infrastructure projects. This scandal is also an opportunity to revisit the terms, funding and allocation of contracts of PFI, including the Scottish Government’s Scottish Futures Trust. We need to learn from this disaster. in the same way as Labour made hay over the Forth Road Bridge, SNP should hang this around the necks of Labour, but as a final cautionary note, guess who has won the maintenance contract for the Forth Road Bridge? Yep, it’s Amey!

  6. Jim Monaghan says:

    Changing the name doesnt change the nature of these deals. Saying that the SNP “scrapped PFI” is much the same as saying that Labour scrapped it. Labour stopped PFI and started PPP, SNP stopped PPP and called it NPD, the finance and building contracts are still highly profitable under NPD and are essentially PFI contracts. The deals being done in Qatar and China right now AR£E PFi deals under another name.

    1. FF says:

      Strictly speaking Labour invented NPD and the SNP adopted it with enthusiasm.

      The term “Non Profit Distributing” is meaningless, if you think about it. The contractor makes just as much profit as before, in exactly the same way. The profit wasn’t distributed under PFI and it isn’t now. The name was chosen deliberately to be a sleight of hand.

      Returning to the article. All the issues that Mike Small identifies with PFI apply equally to NPD/SFT that the current Government is using to rack up debts with such abandon. That is because NPD/SFT essentially is PFI, as you correctly point out.

      1. stewartb says:

        There are distinctions between PFI/PPP used by the Scottish Executive under Labour and the NPD scheme operated by the SNP Scottish Government. These distinctions are both technical/legal but also involve some important points of principle in terms of returns to the private sector partners.

        The European PPP Expertise Centre (EPEC), an initiative involving the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Commission, and others, reports on length on these distinctions in a report in 2012 in the context of Scotland (see: http://www.eib.org/epec/resources/publications/epec_uk_scotland_public_en.pdf ).

        The independent EPEC report notes:

        ‘NPD is not a “not for profit” model. Its aim is rather to eliminate uncapped equity returns associated with the traditional PFI model and limit these returns to a reasonable fixed rate set in competition.’

        It is aimed at producing the following additional benefits over what PFI/PPP delivers:
        − capped returns to ensure that a “normal” level of investment return is made by the private sector and that these returns are transparent
        − operational surpluses generated by the project company that are reinvested in the public sector; and
        − the public interest being represented in the governance of the NPD structure, which increases transparency and accountability and facilitates a more pro-active and stable partnership between the public and private sector parties.’

        The relative financial merits of the NPD over PFI/PPP in the specific context of the New South Glasgow Hospital (Southern General) project for example are set out at length in a publicly available document submitted to the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee by the then Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing , Alex Neil MSP in 2012 (see: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_HealthandSportCommittee/Inquiries/Letter_from_Cabinet_Secretary_for_Health_and_Wellbeing_2015-16_-_Draft_Budget_.pdf ).

        1. FF says:

          Thanks. Your first document is a long read that I will need to take time to go through. Annexe 3, repeated in Alex Neil’s letter, lists a number of “benefits of NPD that are retained from PFI”. It’s another way of saying that except for the specific differences NPD is the same as PFI. To the extent PFI has problems, so too does NPD. Mike Small lists a few of these. Now let’s come to the differences:

          (1) Capped returns ensure that a “normal” level of investment return is made by the
          private sector and that these returns are transparent;
          (2) Operational surpluses generated by the Project Company are reinvested in the
          public sector; and
          (3) The public interest is represented in the governance of the NPD structure, which
          increases transparency and accountability and facilitates a more pro-active and stable
          partnership between public and private sector parties.

          The third is really Apple Pie. None of these schemes are transparent and accountable. (1) and (2) make a marginal difference without fundamentally changing the nature of the scheme or their inherent problems.

          Contractors make their profits from the financing, ie the debt. The returns on these are fixed. That’s the supposed whole point of these schemes. NPD prohibits payments of dividends on the equity part of the scheme and the payout on the equity part is also capped. Returns on equity are still there, otherwise no-one would invest in that part, and not necessarily less than before.

          But equity traditionally makes up 10% of the scheme and therefore the cost. 90% comes from the debt part with typically a 15% return. They might achieve a 0.5% to 1% profit on operations when they can no longer take and in any case these elements are gradually being eliminated from PFI type schemes. If contractors face a small reduction of profits on the equity and operations side thanks to NPD, they will just make up the difference on the debt side , where the bulk of the cost is anyway.

      2. stewartb says:

        And by the way, on FF’s comment that: “The profit wasn’t distributed under PFI and it isn’t now. The name was chosen deliberately to be a sleight of hand.” Perhaps some facts might help.

        According to information published by DueDil Limited (https://www.duedil.com/company/SC206930/the-edinburgh-schools-partnership-limited/financials ), The Edinburgh Schools Partnership Limited (the company set up to deliver the Edinburgh school’s PFI/PPP project) made a pre-tax profit in the year to 31 March 2015 of £2,552,304 and distributed £1,058,530 in dividend payments to shareholders.

        Don’t think the company does anything other that deliver this PFI/PPP schools project – unless FF knows otherwise.

        1. FF says:

          Fair point. The profits on the relatively unimportant equity part of the project could be distributed. I hadn’t considered that aspect. Apologies. However my comment that the name deliberately misleads still stands unfortunately. PFI and NPD are horribly complex and opaque schemes.

        2. Valerie says:

          SNP were always highly vocal and critical of PFI. They would hardly rebrand it.
          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Futures_Trust

          Validated by the LSE? Not bad going. The SFT aims to streamline procurement, and caps profits to the profiteers. Investors have to get something back, but not like PFI.

          The other big issue is the resulting asset does not belong to the private consortium.

  7. Angus Skye says:

    Legislation, to be applied retrospectively, should be brought forward to cap all payments for PFI and PPP schemes.

  8. GPK says:

    If I bought goods in a shop (say, a toaster) and it turned out to be not only fit for purpose but downright dangerous in use, I would have a right of redress – and of compensation for any injury. If I paid a builder for a loft conversion or extension and bits fell down, likewise. Can we expect to see similar robust measures deployed against the PFI businesses (eg make them: pay for the structural surveys now required; reconstruct as necessary, at their own cost; pay compensation for loss of use and for alternative temporary schooling arrangements meanwhile)?
    Or have ‘masons’ in amongst construction, finance, government, the law, etc got it all stitched up between them so they all can be let off ‘scot-free’?
    Will any end up behind bars for what (it seems to me) amounts to criminal incompetence/negligence, reckless endangerment of life, and wholesale fraud?

  9. JohnEdgar says:

    I thought Slab was meant to be radical. This must surely be the final denouement of Slab, Tories and LibDem. The three unionist parties all better together?
    I wonder if the former big beasts of Slab now in the Lords and elsewhere in the finance world – Brown, Darling, Blair, Robertson, McConnell and the former Labour MPs and MSPs including current ones will comment. Is the Shadow Secretary of State hiding in the shadows?

  10. john young says:

    Penny what an opporchancity for the SNP to expose everything/one that went on.

  11. Màrtainn says:

    I’d be wary of putting the boot in too hard. The ‘hub’ system of public procurement used today is essentially a re-branded PFI scheme. Albeit without quite so eye watering repayment terms. My understanding is that the SNP designed the Scottish Futures Trust to issue bonds which would pay for public procurement, however Westminster would have needed to transfer the power to do this.

  12. Tom McAlister says:

    What can say that I haven’t said before. Well, there was the jail, the rendition flights from England to Scotland in hand cuffs and leg restrainers to stand trial accused of owning the Bank of America £4-30 allegedly….. only to walk out the court 17 minutes later (thanks Robbie). Aye that was an affront to their Lordship’s dignities that was. Then there was the campaigning, protesting, sabotaging and the digging out of various “Commercial Confidential details” and that of scams up and down the UK.

    So those PFI scams were rip offs then? Tell me about it. Tom McAlister *

    *Chapter 1 the Skye Bridge Mystery, Chapter 2 Hospital Cases- The Corporate takeover of the NHS and I’m floating about elsewhere In George Monbiot’s Captive State.

  13. John Mooney says:

    Where the hell is that clunking behemoth the one and only G.Brown and the rest of that rancid crew of “Labour”high heid yins(we ALL know who they are)to be found with regard to this deliberate act of complete malfeasance in public office,like Macavity the cat nowhere to found as usual! Even now we have the usual slab apparatchiks crawling out of the woodwork claiming it “Wisnae me Guv,it wis anither big boy who did it and ran away”Where is Dugdales response to this fiasco,also Baillie, Kelly,not a word,they would put the three wise monkeys to shame.whether they like it or not this whole farrago is down to “Labour”and no amount of deflection by certain posters on this forum can hide the truth! The bastards who pushed these schemes on us should be held to account and if possible be charged with the aforementioned malfeasance in public office!

  14. w.b.robertson says:

    These fancy schemes enabled politicians, national and local, to provide goodies that were built on the “never never”. The punters paid the bills long term, on a high priced credit card…instead of the capital being provided by traditional long term and considerably much cheaper Government funding. The bankers loved it!
    Then some of these deals later were “sold on” to other “investors” and that provided an extra and immediate profit. Economics of the madhouse.
    Once upon a time, Scottish councils issued their own municipal bonds to fund projects. This no longer happens. Meanwhile we are in a society where savers can`t get interest on their meagre savings. Crazy and corrupt.

  15. Paul says:

    It isn’t only Labour politicians who are responsible for PFI, what about the councillors and officials who signed up to these deals and who surely must have known the terms and conditions, including the long-term repayments built into these ‘contracts’. This occurred throughout Scotland! Time for a major Scotland wide investigation into these deals, including naming those who signed them off and exposing the levels of debt imposed on councils and health boards as a consequence.

    1. John Mooney says:

      Typical deflection with regard to “Labour”Paul,you conveniently forget the whole farrago was down to Brown, and in Holyrood pushed by Dewar and the rest of the slab acolytes including the majority of councils that were “Labour” controlled so spare me the attempt to spread the manure,this whole unholy mess belongs to slab and no amount of whitewash will hide the truth,yes name and shame the true perpetrators,the apparatchiks camp followers including the pathetic liedems! I agree with you that there needs to be a Scotland wide investigation and if malfeasance is found to have occurred then persons involved should face criminal charges,But I will not hold my breath.

  16. Legerwood says:

    The new Edinburgh Royal Infirmary was budgeted at £150 million. Construction went over budget and it cost £184 million. It was built under PFI and leased to NHS Lothian on a 30 year constract which will cost the Health Board £1.2 BILLION and at the end of the contract NHS Lothian WILL NOT own the hospital.

    As part of the contract maintenance and such services as catering etc are provided by a company set up by the PFI consortium. The Health Board cannot save on these costs by looking for cheaper alternatives because the contract locks them into using the PFI company. This is a feature of many, if not all, PFI contracts.

    In short they get you coming and going.

  17. Alf Baird says:

    Wasn’t the original rationale for PFI being to remove debt from UK ‘plc’ balance sheet so that the UK met the Euro/EMU ‘convergence criteria’ post Maastricht Treaty which set out national debt/decifit criterion. Which, as we don’t have the Euro, rather suggests PFI was/is not necessary at all.

    Don’t forget the LibDems role in all this in the ‘Executive’.

    PFI type lease deals also extended to transport vehicles such as ferries (and trains?). NorthLink’s ferry fleet was modelled somewhat like a PFI hospital deal. Very expensive boats (build cost of 50% more than industry would have paid), overspecified, and uneconomic (exceedingly high fuel consumption) with the then Executive committing to use them for some 18 years, at the end of which the boats are still owned by the bank yet have been paid for several times over. Initial annual operating subsidy quickly went from £10m/year to £30m/40m – so running costs are enormous. The current SNP Gov used a similar Lloyds Bank scheme for leasing a recent Calmac boat for Stornoway, so the system still exists in some form – https://www.calmac.co.uk/press/cmal-launch-mv-loch-seaforth

  18. Alasdair Angus Macdonald says:

    While I can understand the desire to allocate blame where it is due, this is only of small significance compared to deciding what we have to do about the current state of affairs with regard to PFI. And, as Donaldinho stated earlier, how do we fund the major infrastructure Scotland needs, especially if we become an independent country?
    George Monbiot and others have indicated the kinds of things that can be done to end these PFI contracts and to get the ‘managing’ companies to pay for the failures, such as what we have seen currently with 17 of Edinburgh’s schools.
    However, do the Scottish Government and Scottish Councils have all the powers to deal with these matters, which stem from EU regulations and powers of the member states, of which Scotland is not one? Whatever powers they have should, of course, be used.
    With this and the Panama Papers I hope that the anti-union anti-austerity groups do not let good crises go to waste!

  19. Derek says:

    Bonbiot’s original article appears on his blog as http://www.monbiot.com/2004/12/29/a-scandal-of-secrecy-and-collusion/, for those who can’t/won’t afford the book.

  20. JohnEdgar says:

    Update on the L-word or lack of it.
    Mike Small in the Guardian, today, 12. April, at 13.22, had an informative and detailed article on Slab and pfi. It pulls no punches.
    Well worth reading and links to it need to go out on social media.

    1. Anton says:

      For an alternative take on the situation, see the Guardian article here:

      http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/dec/15/scotland-pfi-boom-public-spending-holyrood-snp

      1. Valerie says:

        Carrell putting the boot into the SG with weaselly, misleading words.

        He lumps what SNP is doing into the PFI fiasco, which is quite wrong. SFT under SNP is very different to PFI, and its well seen only the nastiest, such as Carrell conflate the two.

        1. Màrtainn says:

          As someone who works as an architect on SFT projects I can well assure you that from an architectural quality point of view, not much has changed. The main difference between the current system and PPP/PFI is the profit capping. If we are talking about terrible buildings not fit to last 20 years then we are building them still by the barrel load.

        2. Alf Baird says:

          Valerie, it is the same public ‘officials’ dealing with public contracts no matter who is ‘in power’ at Holyrood. I see the same officials today still kidding on they know what they are doing who were there 25 years ago ‘under’ Lord James and Michael Forsyth’s ‘Scottish Office’, who continued under Dewar/Wallace, and McConnell, and then Salmond, and now Sturgeon. The ‘officials’ take all politicians for mugs and drive their own agendas. Politicians merely announce budgets, ‘officials’ spend them as they see fit. The idea that any politicial administration is more ‘competent’ than any other is simply fatuous spin – watch Yes Minister!

          1. Valerie says:

            Anyone can peruse the SFT business plan. Here is a small extract for this year, lest anyone thinks other comments are less than genuine.

            “High-quality sustainable design is supported by SFT throughout the development of the projects and programmes it manages with, for example, new buildings being built to meet ‘BREEAM Excellent’ and designed to a high level of energy performance.

            SFT’s low carbon work is supporting the roll-out of LED street lighting technology that reduces energy consumption by up to 70%.”

  21. Harriet says:

    Firstly it’s not PFI – that is England’s scheme. Scotland got PPPI. Basically like car leading. You choose a design, a company builds it and leases it to you for fixed period. At end, hand it back or pay a set sum to keep it. Devil is in the detail of the contracts, and it appears that councils were not smart enough to watch the small print. That is one issue. The other issue is the shoddy work and what was building control doing – well, that’s a big issue in design and build contracts of all kinds. The architects and designers are on same payroll as builders. Not independent so when costs rise, pressure to cut corners. In normal contracts the designers watch the build to make sure it’s done right and raise hell if contractors stray from the plans. Design and build always a bad idea. not confined to PPI and PFI contracts.

  22. Robert Ingram says:

    Robert Ingram
    Alastair Angus MacDonald asks how to fund major infrastructure especially in an independent Scotland. That is easy to answer. In an independent Scotland the Scottish Government takes control of the monetary policy and through the National Bank of Scotland (Central Bank) issues national credit instead of borrowing from private banks and creating national debt. It is called Constitutional money (electronic credit and currency) and it would be issued to pay for the materials and wages for all government required infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, roads, warships, etc. The private banks would object as it would mean an end to the gravy train for their directors and shareholders but good value for money for taxpayers. Details can be read on the website of the Centre for Scottish Constitutional Studies at http://www.scottishconstitution.scot

  23. Anton says:

    Valerie: All these arrangements, whether called PFI, SFT, NPD, or whatever, are variants of one simple principle – they’re all financial partnerships between the public and private sectors. Governments tend to like them because they don’t need to include the costs in their accounts (someone else is paying) while at the same time they can claim credit for the benefits, as you correctly point out is the case of LED street lighting.

    However, the bottom line is first that the private sector requires a certain level of return on its investment regardless of what the arrangement is called, and second that the state sector must, in the end of the day, accept their own costs (albeit deferred and not included in their balance sheet). There’s no such thing as free money.

    As others have pointed out above, the devil is in the detail. I applaud the Scottish Government’s model of “NPD” but let’s not kid ourselves that this is anything other than an improved version of “PFI”. Indeed, the SG itself lumps PPP, PFI, and NPD together. See –

    http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Government/Finance/18232/12308.

    In the end of the day the Scottish taxpayer will have to stump up the costs, just as outlined in the Guardian article I referenced.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m all in favour of the public and private sectors working together, and I think the SFT has done a great job within the remit it was given. But whichever way you cut it, there’s a price to be paid by future generations.

    1. Valerie says:

      Not sure where you think I’m coming from, but at no point have I said, it doesn’t involve private monies, or that there is no debt. I do actually have some experience in this area.

      The SFT is not off the books in terms of the public purse. A council contribution will be borrowed. Of course the private sector needs incentive, don’t think anyone is that naive. However, SFT caps the profits, unlike PFI.

      If future generations are not to pay for hospitals and schools, how do you suggest the SG raise the billions required to pay on completion? It’s absolutely traditional for decades, that huge capital projects are paid over 25+ years.

      I don’t think there is anything wrong in that. It’s done the world over and works.

      For me, the SG are using the best tools available, while they don’t have full powers, to address the lack we have being ruled from WM.

    2. Alf Baird says:

      There is always an additional cost incurred with any or certainly most public sector contracts, and that is the cost implications of public sector incompetence. Incompetence can take many forms, e.g.: the persons finalising the contracts are not sufficiently competent (they promote each other to positions of incompetence, after all); the specification set for any asset (no matter whether a school, a parliament building, a railway line, or a ferry) is usually so full of compromises to meet the whims and desires of multiple ‘key stakeholders’ which in turn leads to a dog’s breakfast in design terms and spiralling costs; and, ultimately public officials are generalists (e.g. civil servants), not specialist in anything in particular, and certainly not specialist in what they are given responsibility to procure. Hence public sector budgets are continually going through the roof and have done ever since the beginning of ‘public officialdom’. There must be a better way! On the other hand, why we still insist on forcing 1,000 kids into a single school building at the same time and expect postive educational outcomes from this I have no idea.

  24. Gordon Peters says:

    Could there possibly just be a relationship between this PFI and shoddy work scandal and the corrupt goings on in Edinburgh City Council’s property department and their ties with builders in the same years 2000 to 2010 roughly when many Edinburgh tenement owners or dwellers were done out of thousands of pounds on statutary notice scams? It led to criminal cases prosecution and apologies from the then chief executive.
    Worth checking, someone.

  25. Jon says:

    Two things:
    1. It’s not just hospitals and schools. The secretive GCHQ got shafted with a PFI deal for its new headquarters in Cheltenham. Some interesting stories about that one… built too small… staff had to go through two years of discomfort because humidity levels were lower than the Sahara desert, and the PFI contractor wouldn’t do anything to fix it… no kettles allowed… list goes on.

    2. Government naively assumed that if British companies took the contracts at least some of the income would return to government coffers as tax. Have you seen how many companies immediately vested their profits in tax haven subsidiaries so they never paid a penny?

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