PFI contracts signed by councils and health trusts across West Yorkshire have more often than not become more expensive than they were originally projected, we can reveal.
A deal agreed by the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust for a private company to build and run Pinderfields and Pontefract hospitals was originally expected to cost £1.4 billion. It is now expected to cost an extra £223 million.
Taxpayers shell out billions for schools and hospitals as cost of private deals rises
A Kirklees Council schools project was originally expected to cost £418 million but is currently at £473 million, a £55 million increase.
Kirklees’ special schools reorganisation was originally costed at £69 million but now stands at £70.6 million, an increase of £1.38 million.
The Kirklees waste management project was costed at £215.5 million but is now set to cost £245.9 million, which is an increase of £30.4 million.
And Kirklees Council’s ‘excellent homes for life’ contract was originally costed at £197.2 million and has since increased by £200,000.
The Calderdale five schools project was expected to cost £191 million but currently stands at £200.9million – a £9.5 million increase.
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation trust refused to provide data on the cost of a PFI contract for Calderdale Royal Hospital.
Some schemes have got cheaper. A street lighting contract in Wakefield that was due to cost £107.1 million is currently running below its expected whole-life cost by £6.8 million.
And Wakefield Council’s waste management project was expected to cost £795 million and is currently set to cost £793 million, £1.8 million less.
While they may look like any other hospital, school or police station, many public-sector buildings across the country are in fact owned and run by private companies.
The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) works in a similar way to a phone contract - authorities get their hands on shiny new buildings upfront and will usually get to own them outright at the end of their contracts.
The deals often last for 25 or 30 years, with payments also covering services such as cleaning and maintenance.
PFI began under John Major’s Conservatives in the early 1990s but proliferated during the New Labour years. It continued under the Tories before then-Chancellor Philip Hammond put a stop to it last year.
But when contracts were signed the cost of annual bills was often linked to the now-discredited Retail Price Index measure of inflation, meaning many annual payments have been rising steeply while public-sector budgets were being squeezed.