Tuesday, 2 February 2010

PFI - is this the best option for Wrecsam?

Radio Wales's Eye on Wales programme last night took an interesting look at how waste in Wales is being recycled - or not as the case may be.
The programme* asked Wales's 22 councils if they were hitting the 40% recycling target.
As well as questioning how much separated waste actually ends up in landfill, the programme raised questions about the financing of Wrecsam Council's Public Finance Initiative (PFI) waste recycling scheme.
A lot of the debate about the PFI in Wrecsam, which goes right back to the incinerator issue in the 1990s, has happened behind closed doors in the Guildhall. I understand that some commercial confidentiality is needed during contractual negotiations but huge amounts of public money are being spent on this 25-year project and councillors are unable to share that information with the people who'll foot the bill.
I've questioned the rising cost of this project before and been told it's a good deal for Wrecsam Council. I remain to be convinced, especially when the bill for the next financial year alone will be £17 million.
Given the coming squeeze on the council's finances, this is one budget we'll be unable to cut because it's ringfenced to safeguard the company's profits. So other budgets such as education, social service, roads, etc will face a greater proportion of any cutbacks.

* The programme is available on iPlayer for one week only.


2 comments:

Everyones Favourite Comrade said...

I clear answer there that PFI is not in the interests of ordinary people and only benefits the private contractors

Plaid Whitegate said...

Agreed. Study after study has shown that PFI costs local councils and NHS trusts more in the long-run and does not delivered the promised efficiencies.
Fortunately Wales has not been crippled with these schemes as has been the case in England and Scotland.