Gordon Brown’s chief confidant has argued that more time must be given to the design of PFI projects.

In an interview with Building this week Ed Balls, a Labour MP and former chief adviser to the Treasury, said PFI designs are often rushed and the results unacceptable.

Balls said: “I would build in enough time at the beginning to get design right. Designs are finished because of the imperative of getting things done by a certain date. Too often designs end up being renegotiated.”

He admitted that the government had not always been a good client and had made a mistake in allowing small schemes to go down the PFI procurement route.

Too often designs end up being renegotiated

Ed Balls MP

Balls dismissed claims by David Wilson, chairman of Wilson Bowden, that the housing market was in recession. He said: “People think like that because post-war boom has always followed collapse. I’m not saying it’s not tough, but I haven’t seen a benign slowdown like this in my lifetime.”

Balls added that the Barker Review into housing supply that was released last year was an economic landmark.