|Stewart Jackson MP ( former Lloyds High Street Bank Manager ) |
seen giving Stavros from Cyprus some fwendly tips on private finance initiatives ...
The MP for Central Peterborough Stewart Jackson looking towards retaining his 'cushty' seat at the next General Election is currently all over the media, and if its' not immigration controls, then his other favourite populist band wagon is the PFI contract for the Peterborough City Hospital..
The fact is the hospital was conceived at a time when NHS funds were stretched, and there was no other alternative to PFI if the hospital was to be built at all. As we now have a functioning hospital, arguments over the birth and history of the project are simply irrelevant and time wasting,
Nigel Hards the current chairman of the hospital and set to step down soon, says the detail of the PFI (Private Finance Initiative) contract was agreed and signed under a Labour government, long before his board was in charge. Not that his board can claim to be all that brilliant, and still have a few serious questions to answer over their stewardship of the new hospital, and the drawn out disposal of the old District Hospital site.
However back to PFI, the overall deal is covered by a central government financial guarantee, and if the local hospital maintains it cannot afford the PFI, then the central government financial guarantee of the contract will of course as a last resort kick in.
An alternative to the PFI contract, would be for Central Government, to simply buy out the contract with a discounted lump cash payment, then re-let the component parts which makes up the current PFI package.
Some people might not realise the PFI deal extends to the running of all the property services which makes this complex building function. Local government has access to funds at 4% interest, and could say borrow 50% of a negotiated deal to buy-in the PFI contract. Central government of course putting up the other half.
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So for Stewart Jackson MP (Con) to trumpet he had an assurance that City Hospital won't be closed is just political babble, as we show above, to close City Hospital would be such an almighty own goal, not only for Westminster but also for the Peterborough City Council majority party (Con) and also the new 'health supremo' for this area, from April 1st, is none other than Councillor Gr. Uff. (Grande Ufficiale dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia (già Stella della solidarietà italiana) ) Marco Cereste, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Growth, Strategic Planning, Economic Development, Business Engagement, Environment Capital, Director of Public Health and (from April 1st) Chairman of the Health & Wellbeing Board.... amazing to think Marco also has several day jobs as well ...
So having resolved that PFI situation what about the future? Clearly the census population figures for this region are flawed, the actual population is already far higher and services generally are under pressure. Putting issues such as PFI firmly on the back burner will enable those tasked with managing and running the services to get on with the job rather than constantly looking over their shoulders. PFI may be the 'elephant in the room' but with some cross party thinking it should be possible to contain the running debt and make it manageable. What do you think?
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