Want to reduce our national debt by making real "efficiency savings"? Scrap PFIs and PPPs then - and arms Export Credit Guarantees too
The budget announced by Chancellor Alastair Darling includes £15 billion of cuts in public spending through “efficiency savings”.
If the government really wants to make significant efficiency savings it doesn’t need to fire even one public sector employee to get them. Instead it should scrap the grossly inefficient and over-priced Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and ‘Public Private Partnership Programme’(PPPP) contracts given by Blair, Brown and the Conservatives under Major and Clarke to consortia led by huge multinational firms to build and maintain hospitals at costs which Professor Allyson Pollock and other healthcare academics found to be between 4 and over 10 times the cost of either paying for them with taxes or taking out loans to pay with them.
PFIs and PPPs are not shown on the government’s debts – but in reality they are probably the largest debts we've incurred – and ones that taxpayers are already paying for twice – as taxpayers in increased taxes and as NHS patients.The annual payments which NHS trusts have to pay to the PFI consortia have already resulted in cuts in the number of beds and full time, trained staff in hospitals, making it more and more difficult for the remaining, exhausted staff to give patients the care they need and pay for through taxes.
Sacking public sector employees would result in them spending less money, further weakening the economy and putting people in the private sector out of work too.
Another “efficiency saving” could be made by ending all Export Credit Guarantees for arms exports. The weapons mostly go to military occupations and dictatorships anyway and the money could be invested in green energy technologies such as tidal, wave and solar power and create far more jobs than the arms industry ever has or could.