Govt gives green light to 23 PFI projects

Eversheds and Clifford Chance are among the winners of the Government's decision to give the go-ahead to 23 new local authority PFI projects.

Eversheds is involved in over half of the projects while Clifford Chance is advising Focsa Services on its bid for the largest deal Hereford and Worcester County Councils' £350m waste management contract.

David Kilduff, a partner in Eversheds' local government group, said that the new projects showed the Government's commitment to PFI.

Central government will be supporting capital investment of up to £250m in projects in 1997/98 and up to £500m in 1998/99.

Kilduff added that the Government had adopted “a much more rigorous approach” to funding, to ensure that the projects were deliverable.

He said one of the most significant developments was the backing of an initiative of Eversheds' client, North East Derbyshire County Council to use PFI funding to build social housing.

Legislation currently prevents the use of PFI funding for housing projects on council land. But the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions has drawn up draft amendments which would allow such projects to go ahead.

The Derbyshire project is one of two initiatives being undertaken to investigate the viability of social housing projects.