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COUNCILS - SEIZE THE PRIVATE FINANCE INITIATIVE

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Schools' Minister Robin Squire today outlined opportunities for Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects in educat...
Schools' Minister Robin Squire today outlined opportunities for Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects in education.

He re-affirmed the government's commitment to PFI and praised the progress made on several key schools' pathfinder projects.

Speaking at a PFI seminar organised by aslac (Advisory Service for Local Authority Companies), Mr Squire said: 'The Government is committed to PFI because it believes that it is the best way to deliver high quality public services.

'It is designed to encourage innovation and involves both the public and private sectors working together.

'The private sector is paid to provide top quality services and goods to public sector specifications. Through effective partnership, the public and private sectors can each concentrate on their core business.

'For schools that business must be the effective education of our children. It is the private sector that is often best placed to provide and service the buildings and facilities within which the teaching can take place.

'Examples of PFI projects in schools could include new or replacement school buildings, dual or shared use of facilities, or package deals where groups of schools join together in a single PFI model.

'These packages might address any number of service needs such as information technology, facilities management, security, energy or utilities.

'Pioneering schools projects include a school in Stockport which now has use of a brand new sports hall and basketball centre at no cost, and plans to replace school buildings at Pimlico School, Westminster and Colfox School, Devon.

These schools and local authorities seized the new opportunities offered by PFI and have benefited tremendously. They should be very proud of their achievements.'

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