Beyond PFI – What’s The Alternative?

Continuing previous thread…..

The alternative to PFI is to fund public infrastructure using government’s reserves or money borrowed on the international markets, e.g. government gilts and bonds.

Responsibility for ensuring that money is spent efficiently needs to remain with our elected government leaders. Elected leaders, departmental managers and directors need to get on with the job they have been paid for. We need to build up the competence and skills in these areas to ensure that we are able to specify, negotiate and project manage the infrastructure we need building. In my experience within engineering the key is having excellent specifications with lots of consultation with the people who will use the thing we are buying, good negotiation and project management. These skills must be found and developed in the public sector.

No more PFI projects should be agreed from now. What about existing PFI schemes? Existing PFI should be very gradually bought back under public ownership. This would need to be on a case by case basis. The Skye Toll Bridge is a good example where this has already happened.

In PFI projects, where it is too costly to buy the assets back, the government should bring back the sub-contracted soft services like cleaning and catering under public control. Let’s start unwinding the PFI mess with Worcestershire Royal Hospital.