Private Finance Initiative - Treasury Contents

Written evidence submitted by Oxon PFI Alert Group

Darent Valley Hospital, part of the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, cost £94 million to build in a PFI scheme. By the end of the 2010-11 financial year, the Trust had made £289 million in PFI payments to the companies involved (Treasury figures) and there are still some 20 years to run in the PFI contract! No wonder an ever-increasing body of opinion is against the use of PFI.

Please note the following in a Daily Telegraph story (3 April 2011):

"Health Emergency said it had also discovered 'asset stripping' sales of land and property as NHS Trusts also have to cope with the current round of public spending cuts.

"Land is being sold by PFI-built hospitals in London, while a growing number of nursing and other jobs are being cut across the country, including hundreds at the new £256 million 1,200 bed Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, said the group.

"Many other PFI hospitals are facing financial problems but have yet to announce cuts, claimed Health Emergency.

"Its information director, Dr John Lister, said: 'PFI means that hospitals face rising bills each year, regardless of their income.

'It also means that private sector profits are protected by legally binding contracts taking an increased share of declining Trust budgets, while clinical services, patient care and the jobs of NHS staff are sacrificed, in an impossible battle to balance the books as the NHS faces real-terms cuts for the first time in a decade.

'Isn't it significant that Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's massive and controversial Health and Social Care Bill is seeking to break up almost every structure in our NHS, claiming to make the system more efficient, but leaving PFI intact, and instead opening even more ways for the private sector to rip off the taxpayer and undermine public services?

'The Tories appeared opportunistically critical of their own PFI policy when Labour was implementing it, but are now happy to see this growing haemorrhage of cash from the NHS'."

In our view, PFI schemes are a disaster and no new PFI schemes should be set up. Those that exist should be cancelled. Future funding for hospitals, schools or other public buildings should be direct by the government. This is cheaper, and allows more democratic control.

April 2011

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Prepared 10 August 2011