Monday, January 26, 2009

Promises, money and manipulation

Remember how Gordon Brown promised to revive our flagging economic fortunes by pushing on with capital projects? Barely had the words passed from his lips when the MoD announced they were delaying the building of two new, much needed aircraft carriers. Now we have this.

The Times has learnt that projects worth billions of pounds and involving more than 100 schools and hospitals have been delayed or are on hold.

Isn't always the "schools and hospitals" that the left are always saying the Tories will cut first if they get into power? Looks as if Brown has nicked another Tory policy then. The blame, as usual, is being laid at the feet of the private sector.

Gordon Brown’s promise to revive the economy by spending billions on building schools, hospitals and roads has suffered a major setback over the lack of private finance ...

I've always had my doubts about these public/private initiatives for state projects, but blaming the private sector for not putting up cash it doesn't have wasn't one of those concerns. I mean - what do they expect?

The point is, though, that there isn't a shortage of cash in the public sector - just a shortage of will to divert the money away from self-justifying jobs, quangos and government agencies into where it is really needed. I've said since this crisis really got going that I don't disagree with the idea of the government spending taxpayers money on capital projects, but I strongly disagree with the idea that they need more of it to do so.

Treasury officials said that the £3 billion “fiscal stimulus” announced in the PreBudget Report was for smaller nonPFI schemes such as painting classrooms, refurbishing council homes and building small GP surgeries. Industry chiefs said these would do little to kick-start the economy.

Painting classrooms won't do anything to kick start the economy. We've had the promises, the money and here comes the manipulation bit.

David Metter, chairman of PPP forum, which represents the PFI industry, urged the Government to follow the example of countries such as Canada and put more money into the system.

"More money into the system" - just the thought of it depresses me. Just one thing, though - PPP presumably stands for Public Private Partnership? If all the money for a project comes from the Public part of that then what the hell has it got to do with the PPP Forum?

The word "farce" never seems to be far away from my mind when I look at the modern world of politics.

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