LibDems accuse government of PFI bias

In a keynote speech to the Liberal Democrat’s conference in Bournemouth he said the NAO reports contained evidence of major errors in cost calculations for PFIs compared with the public sector in over 50% of the projects, all favouring the PFI solution.

Taylor said: ‘At the very least this is gross incompetence, but there is growing suspicion that there has been a deliberate massaging of figures in favour of the private sector.’

He claimed: ‘Under PFI, unaccountable, costly and centralised public services are being replaced with even more unaccountable, costly and over-centralised private services.’

A senior aide said the NAO looked at 19 of the 400 PFI or PPP projects now under way. Twelve included public service comparators. In the remaining cases there either was no comparator or the NAO was specifically looking at other aspects.

He said that in seven out of the twelve ‘Liberal Democrat research indicates the government’s calculations were wrong and the projects would have been handled more cheaply in the public sector.’

Also at the party conference, shadow environment, food and rural affairsminister Malcolm Bruce called for more ‘green taxes’.

He told delegates: ‘We need a green budget where environmentally friendly taxes replace those which are not.’

‘But,’ he added, ‘there must be a transparent procedure to ensure that the new levies are matched by a withdrawal of other taxes so that the net effect on revenues would be neutral.’


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