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MILLIONAIRE LABOUR MP GIVEN PFI RESPONSIBILITIES

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Millionaire Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson has been given responsibility for the private finance initiative in prime m...
Millionaire Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson has been given responsibility for the private finance initiative in prime minister Tony Blair's new government.

Mr Robinson, MP for Coventry North West, becomes paymaster-general under chancellor Gordon Brown. His brief will be to kickstart the PFI using Labour's '12-point plan for partnership', which was launched as part of its business manifesto last month. The plan includes the promise of legislation to help resolve the issue of vires, giving local authorities the legal framework to enter into partnerships.

Mr Robinson will be supported by a public/private partnership task force within the Treasury. His chief point of contact with councils will be 4Ps - Public Private Partnerships Programme Ltd - the firm set up to promote local authority PFI projects, which shares offices with the Local Government Association.

4Ps chief executive Paul Bryans said he was 'very positive' about Mr Robinson's appointment. Mr Bryans said: '[4Ps' chairman] Tony Colman knows him personally. We're trying to set up an urgent meeting with him.'

Mr Colman is likely to step down as chairman of 4Ps in the next six months, after his election as Labour MP for Putney, beating David Mellor. Although his continued membership of Merton LBC means can still be chairman, it is understood the pressures of Parliamentary work will see him hand over to a colleague.

Birmingham City Council Labour leader Theresa Stewart has joined the 4Ps board.

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