Equity in PFI projects “being moved offshore”

MORE THAN 90 private finance initiative projects have been moved into offshore tax havens, according to a report by a European based think-tank.

The European Services Strategy Unit claims that the equity in projects for hospitals, schools, courts and police stations are being moved to Guernsey and Jersey. The projects are owned by the likes of HSBC Infrastructure, John Laing Infrastructure and 3i among others, the Financial Times reported.

Andrew Hudson, the Treasury’s director of public services, told the Commons public accounts committee last week that tax was taking into consideration when choosing the winning bidders. But PFI consortiums become “private companies who are conducting their business” once the contracts had been signed.

However, Ian Swales, a Liberal Democrat member of the committee, told Hudson that as so many of these deals have moved offshore, “the working assumption should be that they will end up offshore. That should be the assessment you should make”.

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