Colin Hines and I had the follwoing letter in the Guardian this morning:
We note that funds for PFI projects are drying up (Hospital projects at risk in PFI credit crisis, warns leaked memo, 26 January) and that the government may have to take on the risk of PFI deals (Report, 27 January). This is absurd: what is very obvious is that banks cannot manage the risks in such projects better than the government and have charged a considerable premium to the taxpayer for not doing so. To now subsidise them to take on PFI risk removes the last remaining argument for their use, which was that they reduced taxpayer risk.
Thankfully there is an alternative. Until 1981 we had a thriving local authority bond market in the UK, which for about a century financed development of the UK's schools, local transport and public housing infrastructure. That infrastructure needs renewing, now; 85% of people would support such a programme (Faith in Brown collapses as Tories take lead on economy, 27 January). Local authority bonds are the safe savings mechanism that could deliver those jobs, that infrastructure, and the long-term investment opportunity that can underpin pension promises. As such they're a quadruple whammy.
Isn't it time to cut out the bankers and deliver the local finance solution that people need that delivers four returns: jobs now, energy-efficient infrastructure, financial security and lower cost to the taxpayer?
It really does seem to me to be glaringly obvious that this is the way forward.
When I wrote about it on Comment is Free almost no one challenged it.
One for the Tories I think: it's a winner and Labour aren't good at spotting them right now.