PFI deals in hospitals signed by the last Labour government will cost taxpayers £11.7bn in repayments over the next parliament, Liberal Democrat research reveals today. Treasury figures analysed by the Liberal Democrats show the last Government signed off at least 138 Private Finance Initiative projects in the sector with private firms during their time in office.
These deals saw private firms finance and build new hospital and acute health infrastructure in return for yearly repayments totalling far more than their initial outlay. Findings by the Liberal Democrats show the annual unitary payments on these deals - for both the initial capital spend and on-going operation costs - will cost taxpayers £11.7bn over the next five years (2015/16-2019/20).
But despite mortgaging the NHS to the hilt Labour have failed to set out plans to increase funding to meet NHS England chief Simon Stevens’ targets laid out in his Five Year Forward View. Unlike Ed Miliband’s party, the Liberal Democrats have responded to this call by committing to increase NHS funding by at least £8bn per year by 2020.
Liberal Democrat Health Minister Norman Lamb said: "These figures blow Labour’s claims to be the party of the NHS out of the water and shows yet again they can not be trusted with the nation’s finances. We now know Labour’s disastrous buy-now-pay-later PFI deals helped create the funding gap identified by NHS England chief Simon Stevens. They mortgaged the future of the NHS to the hilt and asked future taxpayers and future governments to bail them out. Labour's PFI programme was the biggest and most ill thought through privatisation ever in the NHS. But despite creating the problem Labour have not committed to meeting Simon Stevens’ target of £8bn a year additional investment by 2020, unlike the Lib Dems."
"Only the Liberal Democrats can be trusted with the health service’s finances and are only party to commit to spending the extra money the NHS needs to deliver proper patient care for the future." Norman Lamb added.