The government has again banged the drum for the pfi as its favoured mechanism for delivering building projects, declaring that it wants pfi contracts worth £12 billion signed before the next general election.
Chief secretary to the Treasury Alan Milburn made the announcement last week during a Further Education Funding Council conference where he was launching standard contract guidance aimed at cutting tendering costs, backed by the National Audit Office. The guidance says that assets secured under pfi will, 'where it is appropriate', revert back to public ownership at the end of the contract.
Milburn said pfi has a 'key role to play in the government's modernisation agenda' but had been 'in a mess' when Labour took over. 'One of the main drivers behind it', he said, 'is to give the public sector what the private sector has long expected to be the norm - modern, well-designed purpose- built buildings that maximise savings over the whole life of a project.'