They think it’s all over — PF2

The late, great Ken Wolstenholme, if asked about the House of Commons Treasury Committee Report on Private Finance 21, could well say the same for PF2. Just as Costa Rica’s Bryan Ruiz hammered home the final nail in the coffin of England’s World Cup prospects (by beating Italy on Friday), this report may well achieve the same outcome for PF2.

We gave the world football and a vibrant PFI/PPP product and are now scarcely registering as credible in either. Having offered, with PF2, a new approach to deal with the issues raised by critics of PFI, we are pretty much back where we started when the coalition came to power in May 2010 — a limited greenfield infrastructure pipeline planned (privately owned and regulated utilities/infrastructure companies aside) and a reticence to use or advocate PFI/PF2 in the public sector. As alarming as any of the observations in the report, raising doubts about the likely efficacy of PF2 is the statement that ‘the full details of [PF2] are still being worked out’.

The contrast with other countries is as stark in PFI as it is in football — we have fallen from top spot to a place outside the top 20: a fact evidenced by the number of former UK PFI experts delivering infrastructure in other countries…

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