The Treasury said today it will look into the role of PFI and how it is accounted for

The Treasury Select Committee has called for evidence on the future of the PFI, as it attempts to build on the work already done by the National Audit Office and the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.

A statement released by the Treasury this afternoon said: “Proponents point to a record of completed projects and argue that the PFI strikes an appropriate balance between risk transfer and reward.

“Critics argue that many PFI projects are inflexible and expensive, or worse, that the PFI is inherently wasteful of public resources.”

The Treasury Select Committee will look at the future use of PFI and similar initiatives, and seeks evidence on the following points:

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of different public procurement methods?
  • If PFI debt had been on-balance sheet rather than off-balance sheet would PFI projects have been used as much? How should PFI deals be accounted for?
  • How far can risk really be transferred from the public to the private sector?
  • Are there particular kinds of risk which are particularly appropriate for transfer through PFI deals, or particular projects which are suited for PFI?
  • What state guarantees are explicit or implicit in PFI deals?
  • In what circumstances are PFI deals suitable for delivery of services?

The deadline for submissions to the inquiry is 12 noon on Thursday 28 April 2011.