Much is mentioned about PFI contracts during PMQs, TV debates and newspaper articles. Labour accuse others of wanting to privatise the NHS, Tories and UKIP remind Labour that the majority of the PFI contracts now crippling the NHS were signed under labour.
Less is made of the number of PFI contracts in the defence department. They roughly equal the size of PFI liability in terms of £bn but with an annual budget about half that of the NHS, the defence department are actually more indebted than the NHS in percentage terms.
This article from the DT a few years ago sums up the what, why and how of PFIs. The most disturbing part is “Where is the money going?”
Private contractors who agreed PFI deals with the Government are set to make billions of pounds in profit, with some due to see returns of up to 71 per cent.
The PFI deals include:
A hospital which charged £52,000 for a job that cost £750. Demolishing a shelter for smokers resulted in the PFI contractor charging £2,600 a year for the “extra cleaning”.
A hospital in Bromley, south London, which will cost the NHS £1.2billion, more than 10 times what it is worth.
An empty school which will cost taxpayers £370,000 a year until 2027. Another school had to pay £302 for a socket, five times the cost of the equipment it wanted to plug in.
Military dog kennels which would have ended up costing more per night than a room in the Park Lane Hilton, London.
In Belfast, a school closed after seven years but the PFI contractor must be paid £370,000 a year for the next 16 years.
UKIP will stop further use of PFI in the NHS and encourage local authorities to buy out their PFI contracts early where this is affordable.