|Sheffield’s Green Councillors will oppose the council’s planned
Highways Private Finance Initiative (PFI), by voting against acceptance
of a report to the Full Council meeting on Wednesday, 1st October.
Green Councillor Rob Murphy said, “With the current problems in private
finance it is obvious that we should not be going ahead with this
scheme, and at the very least it should be delayed.The credit crunch
will make it difficult for the private firms trying to raise money for
the project – market conditions were different when the PFI deal was put
on the table.
“Secondly, the report calls for too many powers to be delegated to
council officers during the tendering process. Under the current plan
there would be no further scrutiny of the project by the cabinet, a
scrutiny board, full council or the public until the final report,
which would recommend acceptance of a preferred bidder.
“Finally the length of the 25-year contract leaves the council
vulnerable to changing circumstances. There are examples of schools
built under PFI lying empty but still paying cleaning and heating costs.
In Sheffield, the 35-year waste contract with Veolia has left us with
low recycling rates.
Coun Murphy added, ‘This scheme is being portrayed as a free lunch,
but have no doubt taxpayers will be paying, and other PFI projects have
been shown to be a very bad deal as maintenance costs pile up. The basic
flaw of PFI is that no one knows what’s going to happen in the next five
years let alone the next 25, and any changes to the contract will
inevitably benefit the private contractor’
Topics: City Wide, Privatisation, Rob Murphy, Transport