Meet the local authorities flushed with PFI housing cash

Over the course of this year, PFI grants will be distributed to various local authorities.

According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, these grants will be used to refurbish council housing, aid the construction of council and housing association buildings, renew neighborhoods and regenerate estates.

So which local authorities will be receiving the most in PFI grants in 2015-2016?

PFI Special Grants

You can also see the data visualised on our interactive map. Click here or on the image below. Then click on the red dots to see the individual figures for local authorities.

PFI housing grants across the UK
PFI housing grants

Continue reading Meet the local authorities flushed with PFI housing cash

Summer holiday reading recommendations for PFI

Activists we’ve spoken to, such as Dr Lucy Reynolds, interviewed here, and Joel Benjamin who campaigns with People vs PFI, recommend reading books to get our heads around PFI. 

So, may we suggest some light reading over the summer months?

Beach, flickr
Beach, Flickr

Continue reading Summer holiday reading recommendations for PFI

Finding alternative solutions to PFI for the future

The election has been and gone, and it seems to be as good a time as any to re-gather, re-group and collect our thoughts on PFI and what changes can be made for the future.

With this in mind, we asked for your ideas – wild, outlandish, or perfectly sensible – on alternatives to PFI.

Green party activist Andrew Durling had a couple of bright ideas.

He suggested creating energy-efficient hospitals with funds from quantitative easing.
Continue reading Finding alternative solutions to PFI for the future

Snapshot of the figures and facts behind PFI

The world of PFI can be quite data-heavy, with figures thrown about by politicians and activists alike.

In the spirit of simplicity, we’ve created a visual chart with some of the key figures behind PFI.

Click on the image or this link to view the complete infographic.

Untitled

We mainly got these facts from Drop NHS Debt and government figures. Here is the list of other sources:

FT: The hospital which bought out its PFI contract.
New Statesman: Trusts will make repayments of £2bn in 2015
The Independent: Barts NHS Trust in £93m debt.
The Guardian: up to 300 new PFI schools under Michael Gove

Election candidate takes firm stance on PFI

Ellie Merton, independent parliamentary candidate for Walthamstow, is campaigning to save Whipps Cross University Hospital from the debt-laden Barts Health NHS Trust

Photo: Ellie Merton
Photo copyright of Ellie Merton

It is the first time that Ellie Merton is running for MP in her local constituency of Walthamstow, but she is no stranger to politics. As a student, she campaigned against homophobia and was elected as the Student Welfare Officer at the University of London. Recently, she has been campaigning for Palestine.

But when Whipps Cross hospital was rated “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission in March, Ms Merton knew she had to enter the election.

“I realised that I had the motivation to stand for more than just international human rights, and actually do something on an issue that really worried me; my local hospital,” she says.

Continue reading Election candidate takes firm stance on PFI

Beyond Britain: how do other countries use PFI?

The 8-mile long Confederation Bridge linking New Brunswick, Canada with Prince Edward Island. Opened in 1997, it was the first Canadian public facility to be built with a Private Finance Initiative contract.
The 8-mile long Confederation Bridge linking New Brunswick, Canada with Prince Edward Island. Opened in 1997, it was the first Canadian public facility to be built with a Private Finance Initiative contract. Credit: Chensiyuan / Wikimedia Commons

First seen in Britain in the early 1990s, Private Finance Initiative has reached far beyond its natural boundaries over the years.

With projects active in France, Spain, Portugal, Japan, Nigeria among many others, we can safely say that few countries have resisted the lure of PFI.

Going by the names PPP or P3, it may not be referred to by the same term.

The underlying principle, however, is the same: infrastructure projects are financed, built and maintained by the private sector against annual payments from public authorities.

Here we give an overview of how three countries (France, Japan and Canada) have developed PFI policies.

Continue reading Beyond Britain: how do other countries use PFI?

Liveblog: join us on the PFI walking tour of Parliament

Meeting at the Winston Churchill statue, Parliament Square, join us for a PFI tour of Parliament!

Parliament, Flickr
Parliament, Flickr

We’re being led by journalist Kerry anne-Mendoza @scriptonite as part of a series of events by Occupy Democracy.

Anna will be at the scene and tweeting live from @pfeyeblog

Click on this link or on the image below to follow our live coverage:

Liveblog: Follow us on an open top bus tour of East London’s PFI

The People vs PFI team on the campaign bus
East London’s Barts Health, the largest NHS Trust in the country, is facing a terrible crisis.

Crippled by an ever-growing deficit, now estimated at £93m, it was put into special measures last month following a damning CQC report.

Local campaigning group People vs Barts PFI blames the 40-year Private Finance Initiative contract the Trust has signed for the construction and maintenance of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

Aiming to raise awareness about the scale of the problem, today they are taking an open top bus round East London stopping by a series of PFI locations.

Click through this link or on the image to follow our live coverage:

 

PFI Liveblog

For more background on the crisis of Barts Health NHS Trust read our interview with local campaigners Helen Mercer and Mary Burnett:
https://pfeyeblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/people-vs-barts-health-pfi-campaigners-on-the-debt-crisis-crippling-the-east-london-trust/

Election promises: what are the politicians saying about PFI?

In the run-up to the election and with the release of the manifestos, let’s have a look at which parties are pledging PFI change, and which have been side-stepping the issue.

Conservative For the party who famously introduced PFI in their 1992 Autumn statement, the Conservatives have been rather quiet.

David Cameron, The Open University, Flickr
David Cameron, The Open University, Flickr

In David Cameron’s interview with Evan Davis on 15th April, the BBC Newsnight presenter pressed him on social issues such as profiteering property developers and PFI.

While David Cameron reportedly made all the right sounds, “totally offensive”, “infuriating”, “maddening,” he did not make any specific promises on PFI – a missed opportunity.

There are no grand plans to combat unruly PFI contracts in the Conservative manifestoIn terms of the NHS at least, Chancellor George Osborne is promising to put an extra £2bn into frontline health services across the UK.

Continue reading Election promises: what are the politicians saying about PFI?

Myatts Field North residents reveal dismal state of new PFI homes

The Myatts Field North estate in Lambeth, South London, before the regeneration process started in May 2012.
The Myatts Field North estate in Lambeth, South London, before the regeneration process started in May 2012. Photo by: Michael Keane / Flickr

Myatts Field North was meant to be one of London’s success stories as far as regeneration projects go. “An outdated housing estate” riddled with crime would be remodeled into a “more open, greener and welcoming environment”, Lambeth council put it in 2012.

The old blocks would be demolished to make way for 808 new residential units, while a further 172 existing houses would be refurbished to a modern standard.

All thanks to a £150m Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract the Lambeth council had entered with a private consortium led by Regenter.

Two years into the construction programme, however, a rather different picture is emerging. Continue reading Myatts Field North residents reveal dismal state of new PFI homes