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By LGCnet political correspondent Robert Hedley...
By LGCnet political correspondent Robert Hedley

Tony Blair brushed away demands from a CIPFA-qualified MP that the government reconsiders its 'love affair' with private finance in public services.

At prime minister's questions, David Taylor, Labour MP for North-West Leicestershire, said: 'Given the profound misgivings about the private finance initiative revealed by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants survey, and following the Capita-caused chaos in school staff screening, is it not about time for a fundamental review of that most costly and misconceived of policies; and should not our leadership end its five-year love affair with private financiers and get back to basics in public service delivery?'

Mr Blair replied: 'I am afraid the short answer is no - I do not agree with that at all. We will certainly not scrap PFI. The reason for that is simple: up and down the country, it is delivering hospitals, schools and improvements to our public services'.

It would be 'wholly irresponsible' to get rid of it because it had resulted in an additional£4bn of investment.

'Under the old way - under the Conservatives and, indeed, the last Labour government - we never had anything like the capital programme we now have flooding into our public services. This is one occasion on which we are at our best when at our boldest', he delared.

Hansard 16 Oct 2002: Column 311

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