The first three projects in the second wave of PFI Pathfinder housing refurbishment schemes were announced over Christmas by local government minister Nick Raynsford.
Islington, Oldham and Rochdale councils have been selected to pilot the second stage of the scheme, which uses private money to refurbish council housing. The initial crop of Pathfinders was hit by delays and demands from councils for extra funding. A contract for the most advanced of the early projects, in Manchester, is expected to be signed early this year.

Islington is the largest of the latest phase, with the repair, maintenance and management of 3500 properties being offered to bidders. Rochdale's scheme involves fewer than 300 properties and the Oldham project is for sheltered and warden-supported accommodation.

The projects were part of a £154m PFI package, including school bus service scheme for pupils at more than 40 primary schools.