Tuesday 4 December 2012

Public Libraries and PFI

Tomorrow in his Autumn Statement the Chancellor will be announcing plans to make PFI more 'public', 'Private Finance 2 (PF2)' as it will be called will involve the public sector taking stakes of up to 49% in individual private finance projects and appointing a director to the boards of each project.
This is to ensure that the taxpayer gets a share of any profits from the deal or this is what we are being told?
This has all come about due to Government concerns over failed PFI projects, long term liability to the public purse and the huge profits being made by the private companies involved.

But what has this got to do with Public Libraries i hear you ask?

all of the following Libraries where built using PFI;

Liverpool Central Library = £42m
Wootton Library
Newcastle Central Library = £3.3m
Hackney Central Library
Bournemouth Central Library = £20m
Brighton Central Library = £12m
The Hive - a joint venture with a University = £43m
Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre = £13.5m

although on the face of it this might seem like a good news story is it really a sustainable and cost effective way of providing new libraries and are they being built at the expense of the local branch network?

"With around 500 libraries under threat of closure, there’s no shortage of local authorities throwing millions of pounds at gradiose library PFI schemes, even as they seek to save far less by shutting more local and popular facilities."

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