Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 180 - 185)



Chris Grayling

  180. But those underlying costs, the numbers were broadly similar for the two. That £2 billion saving did not actually exist when you just looked at the underlying costs?
  (Mr Callaghan) I cannot say that from my knowledge of the summary of that, that I can tell you precisely what the number was, but I can—

  181. Broadly speaking, am I correct in saying that?
  (Mr Callaghan) I do not know the answer off the top of my head.


  182. So you can give us a little note on that, because it is really rather important, because it appears from the calculations that have been made available to us that the difference between the public sector evaluation and the private partnership is actually this social element that you have built in, this figure that you have dredged up, that you say that you use and nobody else does?
  (Mr Callaghan) First of all, I am afraid I have to reject the expression "dredged up". As I have said, what we are doing—

  183. Carefully evaluated and produced by historical accounts.
  (Mr Callaghan) We are using taxpayers' money to buy benefits to taxpayers, and therefore—

  184. That is precisely why we are asking you why, for example, you have not got a termination clause, but it does not matter about termination, it only matters when it suits you.
  (Mr Callaghan) We are buying benefits to taxpayers with taxpayers' money. It is reasonable to take into account whether one—and indeed it should be expected that we would take into account whether one method of delivery gives better benefits than another.

  185. With respect, I want to ask you a very simple question: this is obviously a highly complex document, and we have a division, so I am supposed to suspend now; tell me very simply: do you honestly think that you can actually get the benefit with this highly complex, very, very complicated arrangement, that you can actually get benefit for the taxpayer out of it, when you must know that the people who are going to do well out of it are the lawyers and the accountants?
  (Mr Callaghan) Chairman, I have lived with this arrangement for five years. I was in at the beginning of it, I am in at the end of it. As a result of that experience, I am completely confident that this will do what it says it is going to do.

  Chairman: Gentlemen, you have been very helpful. Thank you very much. We will have other things to say to you, I think, but not this evening.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 24 October 2002