Construction minister says resolving uncertainty over the future of PFI is not a top priority
Construction Minister Mark Prisk has insisted that clarity over the future of PFI is not a top priority for the sector despite concerted industry lobbying over the issue.
Prisk told Building this week that resolving the uncertainty over the future of PFI, following the government placing it under review last year, “certainly isn’t top of the list of representations I get from industry” .
He said: “I will probably regret this statement but PFI certainly isn’t top of the list of representations I get from industry. At the moment people seem more concerned about general order books, skills and wanting to talk to us about apprenticeships.
“I take representations from industry very seriously and if trade bodies are citing other things as their biggest concerns, I can’t and I won’t ignore those things. And they will be at the top of my priority list.”
But Stephen Ratcliffe, UK Contractor’s Group director, said UKGC had delivered the message on the importance of determining the future of PFI in “all our budget submissions to government”.
“It may not be top of the list but it is important. Without unlocking private finance the UK’s infrastructure will deteriorate,” he said.
In February the UK Contractors Group said there was “great concern” among UKCG members that delays in tackling PFI policy were threatening key infrastructure investment decisions.
At the time, Paul Drechsler, chief executive of contractor Wates, said: “We need decision not deferral. Every time you defer a decision in this industry you cost jobs.
“We can’t have hundreds of people sitting on the bench waiting months and months for decisions. This is the best industry for creating jobs in this country rapidly.”