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DECISION TIME FOR PFI

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Recent treasury announcements will have an important bearing on the future of the Private Finance Initiative, write...
Recent treasury announcements will have an important bearing on the future of the Private Finance Initiative, writes The Independent (sect 2, p19).

Against a backdrop of increased uncertainty over whether the government's financial targets can be achieved, each government department will now have one minister responsible for promoting the PFI; contracts will be standardised; more public procurement will be on a partnership basis; and short lists will be used to identify preferred bidders who will be helped in drawing up final tenders.

The government capital programme assumes a steady growth in PFI schemes, so there is a real need to kick-start the scheme. Not all departments, however, are committed to it: some fear that the private sector could have undue influence over politically sensitive issues. The scope and penetration of PFI schemes into local government remains uncertain, with the exact relationship between private and public sectors in the PFI yet to be clearly defined.
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