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Private Finance Initiative

Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 30 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many PFI contracts his Department or its agencies (a) have with and (b) are being tendered for by (i) Amey plc and (ii) consortia involving Amey plc; what the total value is of those contracts; what the average length is of the contracts or proposed contracts; and what assessment his Department has made of the financial position of Amey plc and the implications for his Department. [108330]

The Department for Education and Skills does not itself have any PFI contracts. It has a PPP arrangement for the provision of the Connexions Card but this does not involve Amey pic. The Department does not have any agencies but is responsible for a number of Non Departmental Public Bodies which are separate contracting authorities. Schools PFI contracts in England are between Local Authorities and the private sector and 56 such contracts have been signed to date. Typically they are contracts for between 25 and 30 years. Two of these contracts involve consortia including Amey pic. However, since contract signature Amey has sold its equity stake in these projects although it continues to deliver support services. The position of equity holders in projects can vary over time but this does not necessarily impact on the quality, continuity or the ongoing financial viability of the project itself. The procurement process includes an assessment of the financial viability of bids to ensure they are robust over the long term and the contracts include arrangements for dealing with possible early termination.