MP accuses Whitehall of forcing public servants to make the case for PPPs

6 Dec 01
A backbench MP has accused the government of 'rigging the figures' in an attempt to push through more public-private partnerships.

07 December 2001

Lynne Jones, MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, told the Future of Public Services Conference in London on December 1 that ministers were skewing figures on PPPs to suggest they were better value than public borrowing.

She maintained that public servants were under increasing political pressure, with ministers making it clear that they would withdraw funding if PPPs were rejected.

'Public servants up and down the country are building up assessments in the knowledge that if they don't make the case for PFI they won't get the money,' she added.

Jones called for the public sector to be allowed to compete fairly for projects, but added that her colleagues in the Commons were prepared to be complicit in the deceit. 'Most MPs are so pleased to get these new facilities that they will go along with this fraud,' she said.

At the conference, London Mayor Ken Livingstone launched a manifesto for the reform of public services in London. He called for more devolution in the UK.

'It is not possible to create a culture of efficiency and service delivery without devolution of power. Improvement of public services must be linked to increased powers for devolved government in London, Scotland and Wales and the establishment of English regional assemblies,' he said.


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