UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Friday, 6 July 2012

UNISON said it from the start, we say it again - PFI is a debt time bomb

At the 2002 Labour Party Conference the affiliated trade unions, led by UNISON, defeated the Labour leadership on their use of the Private Finance Initiative to fund public sector capital projects.
  10 years on, Dave Prentis, who was the subject of much abuse and negative briefing by New Labour ministers at the 2002 conference, restates in today’s Guardian UNISON’s objections to PFI: "We're sitting on a PFI debt time bomb, and the sheer scale of the burden paints a seriously grim picture for the future of our public services." As predicted back in 2002, PFI had left the UK with a "staggering mountain of debt"

It should be remembered that in 2002 the unions had sought only an independent review of PFI - having been prepared to compromise on the original demand for a moratorium - but even that was too much for the self righteous neo liberal zealots of the Blair/Brown leadership:

In pre-conference spin Brown even made a virtue of dismissing the democratic demands of Labour’s membership, giving notice to the Daily Telegraph ahead of the conference that he would ignore an anti-Government vote and press ahead with his multi-billion pound PFI building plans.

The handling of PFI by New Labour is not only a case study in a short sighted failure of public policy. It demonstrates the extent to which Labour Party democracy was hollowed out in the New Labour years.

It is a lesson that UNISON Labour Link national forum delegates meeting in Cardiff today must not forget.