Buy out PFIs - save billions, says South East MEP

1 June 2009

A New report has highlighted massive potential savings if PFI was brought to an end as the Greens are demanding.

The Green Party today called for the government to buy out Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts which are still repaying the financing of new hospitals in the South East region.

The report suggests that the total savings of doing this across England could be as much as £2.4 billion in rent alone.

PFI hospitals in the South East include: Buckinghamshire, Sussex Partnership, Luton and Dunstable and others. PFI funded projects are underway at Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, Queen Alexandra's Hospital, Portsmouth and other hospitals in the region.

The report, produced over five years by Dr Chris Edwards, an economist and a Senior Fellow at the University of East Anglia, reveals that the savings from buying out just one hospital PFI contract (the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital - NNUH) would be a staggering £217 million - even after paying a £300 million penalty clause. Dr Edwards says multi-million pound savings could be possible in every region.

Green Party deputy national leader Adrian Ramsay chaired the press conference launching the report. He said:

'In every region, the true cost of completing hospital PFI contracts should be investigated and calculations made of possible savings from buying out the contracts.

'This is a financial scandal. Financing new hospitals via the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) has been immensely wasteful. Millions of pounds that should have been spent on public health care has gone into the deep pockets of finance companies.

'I'm angry at the short-sightedness of the Labour and Conservative politicians who set up PFI deals. PFI has provided a poor deal for taxpayers and a poor deal for the NHS. Dr. Edwards's research shows that, even at this stage, it would save taxpayers' money to buy back hospitals into full public ownership. This is the Green Party's policy and we are confident is has public support. '

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