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Private Finance Initiative Schools

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 24 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if he will list the owners of all private finance initiative schools; (91953)

(2) how much made from the private finance initiative consortium selling equity stakes has been passed on to the local education authorities from private finance initiative schools.

Private finance initiative (PFI) projects for the provision of schools are delivered through contracts between local authorities and private sector contractors. There are currently 103 such projects with signed contracts covering over 800 schools. The names, locations and other details (including the names of the private sector contractors) of these schools are available in the House Library.

Under PFI, a private sector contractor will fund the construction or modernisation of a school or schools and then deliver a managed service based on them. The local authority will not make any payments until the facilities are available and thereafter payments are conditional on satisfactory availability and performance of the service. The contractor will deliver the managed service under the terms of a contract and will operate the assets under the terms of a lease or licence granted by the local authority; at the end of the contract the assets will revert to the local authority and must be fit for a period of further use. The local authority retains ownership of the freehold of the site throughout the contract.

A schools PFI consortium is a private company and parties investing in it initially can later sell their equity holding to a third party. Since any equity sold has previously been purchased by those investors the local authority would not be entitled to a share. The Department does not collect information about such private sector commercial transactions.