Almost two decades later, we can see the results. PFIs have produced more fleecing than Millets. A PFI primary school in Middlesbrough, only opened in 2006, was demolished in 2015 because its foundations had been built on “defective fill material” – literally, dodgy ground. Children and staff moved to another site – nevertheless, payments on the contract had to be made. In Liverpool, a PFI school has been shut since 2014 – because there aren’t enough pupils to keep it open – yet taxpayers still pay £12,000 a day under the contract. These aren’t one-offs: they are inherent in the structure of PFIs, which dump all the risks on the public and hand the private sector all the rewards.
So, let us consider other contractual arrangements and payment methods.
Say, the government borrowed the money and went out and built these schools. The government would still be paying the interest on those loans, wouldn’t it?
Perhaps the government taxed the rich bastards and paid for the schools that way? The money would still have been spent, and gone, on a school that doesn’t have enough pupils.
That is, changing the method of payment doesn’t change the fact that the money was wasted, does it? And the problem is that the money, those real resources, were wasted by incompetent state planning, however it was paid for.