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Digest: NAO report questions PFI benefit

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DIGEST: Private finance initiative projects cost taxpayers billions of pounds more than public sector alternatives and there is little evidence they deliver benefits to offset the extra costs, the National Audit Office has found.

The report, published today, said annual charges for PFI projects amounted to £10.3bn in 2016-17 and existing projects will cost the taxpayer a further £199bn by the 2040s. 

Meg Hillier

Meg Hillier

Meg Hillier

The chair of the Commons public accounts committee Meg Hillier (Lab) said lessons must be learned from the report.

She added: “Many local bodies are now shackled to inflexible PFI contracts that are exorbitantly expensive to change.

“I am concerned that Treasury has re-launched PFI under new branding, without doing anything about most of its underlying problems.

“We need more investment in our schools and hospitals but if we get the contracts wrong, taxpayers pay the price.”

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