March 22, 2006

THE RACE TO THE RIGHT:

Brown takes on critics with £26bn gamble: Budget to include PFI expansion (Patrick Wintour, March 22, 2006, The Guardian)

The chancellor Gordon Brown will try to bury the Conservative charge that he is Labour's roadblock to reform when he uses his budget today to justify plans for a controversial £26bn expansion of the private finance initiative across 200 public sector projects.

His proposals, set out in a Treasury paper to be published alongside the budget, will infuriate the unions, especially the public sector union Unison. There had been widespread rumours that the Treasury had gone cool on PFI, which draws on private sector money to build and then run public sector projects such as hospitals and schools.

Today's report, published as part of Mr Brown's 10th budget, will reveal that the public sector has so far signed 700 PFI projects. Over the next four to five years the government plans to begin another 200 projects worth a total of £26bn, representing the largest programme of its kind in the world.

The announcement of such a sharp expansion of the scheme will cause controversy within the Labour movement.


Mr. Blair and Mr. Brown recognize that David Cameron's ascent forces them to fight for the title of Third Way reformers, even if the base of their party objects.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 22, 2006 8:24 AM
Comments

He's got to cut welfare.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 22, 2006 9:45 AM
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