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Housing: Private Finance Initiative

Volume 461: debated on Monday 18 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department has taken to increase the effectiveness of the housing private finance initiative programme. (143465)

Since the early Pathfinder schemes were accepted onto the Housing Private Finance Initiative (PFI) Programme, the Department has made a number of changes, both to regulations and in respect of internal resourcing, to increase the effectiveness of the programme.

We have made two legislative changes, one to allow the sub-contracting of housing management functions and the other to provide new financial freedoms to build new social housing in Housing Revenue Account PFI schemes.

We have improved the guidance and tools available for PFI by publishing the Housing PFI Procurement Pack and issuing a new housing PFI financial model, increasing certainty about costings and affordability and streamlining the data required from authorities. In addition, more emphasis is now placed on improving the scoping and costings of proposals at an early stage.

We have also established a departmental Central Private Finance Unit (CPFU) to strengthen PFI governance, ensure consistency in programme management and provide commercial and management advice and support to PFI policy teams.

We are in the process of reviewing the costs of new build housing PFI schemes and we are currently undertaking further work with a number of local authorities and the Housing Corporation on new build costs.