Saturday, 20 August 2011

Labour should now rule out PFI

A Treasury select committee has concluded that the Private Finance Initiative is poor value for money. With stories like this, this and this, it would have been difficult for them to arrive any other conclusion.

Wales has been shielded from the worst impact of PFI. This foolish form of finance was ended in the Welsh health service when Plaid Cymru formed the One Wales Government with Labour in 2007. I hope that the Labour minority government won't ditch this committment and that they will extend a ban on the use of PFI throughout all sectors. PFI will saddle our children and grandchildren with an unsustainable level of debt and will set us back in attempts to improve economically.

Due to the slashing of the Welsh capital budget by the Westminster Government, Labour could be tempted to turn once again to PFI. Despite the wealth of evidence out there to show how pernicious PFI can be, various Labour Ministers have evaded direct questions on their plans for PFI that I and other Plaid colleagues have asked of them.

While Labour in Wales are unlikely to pursue PFI with the same vigour as Blair and Brown did from 1997 onwards, the commissioning of just one PFI project would be one too many. Its time to rule out PFI in Wales.

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