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As£1.5billion of new PFI hospitals are announced by ministers, local authorities have been turning Private Finance...
As£1.5billion of new PFI hospitals are announced by ministers, local authorities have been turning Private Finance Initiatives on their heads by offering Public Finance Initiatives to other public bodies.

Recent months have seen a spate of local authorities become PFI investors - financing and building state of the art health facilities for other public bodies to pay back over the long term. Councils up and down the country are now investigating how they could replicate these new PFI projects across England.

Projects nearing completion include:

-- This month Huntingdonshire DC will officially open a£6.5m new state of the art health centre which the PCT will rent back from the council

-- Wychavon DC is building a£6.7m hospital and health centre - the 26 bed hospital and GP surgery with 13 doctors will be completed in late September

The chairman of the Local Government Association, Lord Bruce-Lockhart, said: 'Local authorities are leading the way in looking at entirely new ways to fund and build projects that are beneficial to the local community even if they don't come strictly under the remit of the council.

'These Public Finance Initiatives are all about helping to ensure that local people get the right services, whichever part of the public sector they come from, in the right time at the right place.

'There are three key principles when councils are deciding how to use taxpayers' money. Firstly it has to be a regeneration project from the town, secondly it has to have community benefit and finally it has to be reinvested locally.

'Not only does the community benefit from new facilities, but it makes financial sense for the councils as it provides them with an income stream helping to keep council tax as low as possible.

'Taxpayers money is being spent in a highly unusual, but ultimately bold way, to improve local services and to deliver key improvements in the infrastructure of local areas.'

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