Lords to look into PFI arrangements

A government committee will hear from academics about the value for money of
controversial private finance initiatives (PFI).

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee which is looking into PFI and
off-balance sheet debt, will hear from three university experts.

Professor Allyson Pollock of the University of Edinburgh, Dr Chris Edwards of
the University of East Anglia as well as Sir Peter Dixon, Chairman of UCL
Hospital will answer questions before the committee on whether the schemes are
value for money and what alternative systems of funding public infrastructure
procurement might be available.

A statement from the House of Lords, said Dixon would likely be asked about
his experience of the PFI project used to build the new University College
London Hospital and how the use of private finance in public infrastructure
projects may be influenced by the credit crunch.

In September, Accountancy Age, published concerns of former treasury
adviser David Heald who said the government would effectively leave £32bn of
debt off the public balance sheet by using a softer accounting treatment which
did not treat PFIs as debt.

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