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Architects will still lose money if their PFI bids fail

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Architects who pour thousands of pounds into design work for PFI competitions will not get a penny back if the bid fails, the Treasury has insisted.

The Treasury has been working on PFI guidance with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport since November which suggested that paying PFI failed bidders would lift design quality.

Guidance aims to balance good-quality and consistent design with value for money.

But a Treasury source warned it was unlikely there would be a blanket rule that architects would receive money back if they did not win the bid.

'It would be highly unusual in a competitive process like this and does not happen in any other area, ' he said. 'I would be very surprised if the government gave money back; it would not promote effective competition.

'If I were a designer I would spend as much as possible, knowing the taxpayer would pick up the bill at the end.'

The government should only consider reimbursing bid costs where a project was dropped for reasons entirely outside the private sector's control, he added.

The culture department was tight-lipped on the progress of the report. A spokeswoman could not give details or say when it would be published.

She did say, however, that the architectural adviser, Bryan Jefferson, was working with architects.

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