The Office for National Statistics has denied assertions made in a newspaper article last week that it had decided to include billions of pounds of PFI capital expenditure in public sector debt figures.

Shares in PFI specialists, including Carillion and Skanska, were hit when the article was published in the Financial Times on Friday, but recovered on Monday after the ONS said that it had not taken any decision.

The article said that there would no longer be an accounting advantage for public departments and said that as a result there would be fewer PFI deals in the future.

Tim Stone, chairman of the financing group at accountant KPMG, warned that newspaper scaremongering could drive contractors out of the UK PFI market: “If contractors face such hostility here, they will turn to PFI in Europe and that will directly damage public services in the UK.”

He added that an ONS review would not be a new process and said it was “unlikely to have any material impact on the flow of PFI deals”.