Paymaster General vows to improve reputation of PFI

Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson wants private finance initiative projects to stay off the public-sector balance sheet, despite conflicting plans by the Accounting Standards Board.

He said the Treasury would ignore the ASB’s interpretation of FRS5 if it meant bringing the PFI initiative to a grinding halt.

‘The concept was a dead duck because the previous government lacked direction, but we will restore credibility to the concept,’ he said.

Projects totalling #1.9bn had already been signed and the Treasury was looking at a public-private partnership to tackle the investment backlog in London Underground.

But Adrian Montague, head of the taskforce, admitted the government’s comprehensive spending review had slowed the flow of privately financed projects. ‘The review will be settled in the next few weeks and it will be made clear how much will be pushed through the private finance route,’ he said.

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