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Government ministers using foreign aid money questionably

INVESTIGATION: Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health), left, with Priti Patel, Secretary of State for International Development (image credit: Laura Lean/LNP/REX/Shutterstock)

FINANCIAL EQUALITY campaigning group the Jubilee Debt Campaign have released a new report exposing the contradiction between senior government ministers’ criticism of the cost of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) hospitals in the UK, whilst their departments are actively promoting such schemes to other countries.

The PFI is a means of creating and funding organisations which are partly-owned by the public and partly owned by private companies or investors and are known as public-private partnerships, or PPPs.

In the report, entitled Double standards: How the UK promotes rip-off PPPs abroad, the campaigning group claim that Liam Fox (Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade), Jeremy Hunt (Secretary of State for Health), Priti Patel (Secretary of State for International Development) and Boris Johnson (Foreign Secretary) have all criticised the PFI in the UK, yet their departments are promoting similar schemes in many impoverished countries.

In contrast with his later actions as Foreign Secretary, The Guardian reported in 2010 that Johnson said of the scheme:

“In other countries this would be called looting, here it is called the PPP”.


CONTRADICTIONS: Boris Johnson

Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, said in Parliament back in 2013:

“One of my biggest concerns is that many of the hospitals now facing huge deficits are seeing their situation made infinitely worse by PFI debt."

Jubilee Debt Campaign also highlight that Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox said in the same year:

“We all know from reports that have gone to parliament the cost that [PFI] has ultimately given the taxpayer”.

Despite these remarks, the Department of Health and Department for International Trade appear to be working together, through a body called Healthcare UK, to promote such PFI schemes as “efficient” and “cost effective” to other governments. The schemes are being promoted through material including this pamphlet (click here.)

The Jubilee Debt Campaign have also uncovered that ministers are marketing St Bart’s PFI scheme as a success despite the Government having to pay six times more than the initial investment in it because of the PFI scheme and identify these excessive costs as the cause of serious failings in quality of care and a large financial deficit at the hospital.

Sarah-Jayne Clifton, Director of the Jubilee Debt Campaign, said:

“Jeremy Hunt, Liam Fox, Priti Patel and Boris Johnson all know and acknowledge the huge cost of PFI in the UK. It’s outrageous that their departments are actively promoting similar schemes abroad, threatening healthcare provision and risking a huge debt trap for some of the most impoverished countries in the world.

"The Government needs to stop this dishonest promotion, and tell the world the true rip-off cost of PFI.”

To read the full report, visit: www.jubileedebt.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Double-standards-final...

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