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Private Finance Initiative

Volume 523: debated on Tuesday 8 February 2011

The Government are committed to transparency across all areas of public spending, including PFI contracts. All new central Government PFI contracts will be published, and the Treasury website holds PFI statistics that will be updated at the Budget.

I thank the Chief Secretary for that answer. Last week, the Ministry of Defence announced that it had chosen three PFI projects as pilots for a wider renegotiation strategy in order to generate a rebate for taxpayers. I and many other Members have warmly welcomed that news. Is my right hon. Friend planning to encourage other Departments to reopen their own PFI contracts to generate future savings?

I am grateful for the question, and I certainly support the work that the MOD is doing. We are actively encouraging Departments and local authorities to scrutinise their PFI contracts for savings. As my hon. Friend knows, the Treasury has published draft guidance to help contract managers identify PFI savings, and a pilot will test the savings measures in the contracts, which will help to scope out possible savings and ensure that other Departments can make the same progress as the MOD.

Order. I would be grateful if the Chief Secretary could look at the House as he addresses us.

What will the right hon. Gentleman do about the scandal of bunching private finance initiative contracts together and selling them on in the private sector, with no benefit to the public sector? Is he going to take action, and if so, when?

As the hon. Gentleman implies, a vast number of PFI contracts were negotiated under the previous Government. If he, in common with any other hon. Members, has examples of low value for money PFI contracts or other concerns, I would be happy to look at them, as I said at the previous Treasury questions. Since then, no hon. Member except my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford and South Herefordshire (Jesse Norman) has come forward with such examples. I therefore look forward to hearing from the hon. Gentleman.