Unite the Union

Unite the Union

May 01, 2007 09:40 ET

Unite condemns Lib-Dem/Tory council PFI

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - May 01, 2007) - Unite (Amicus section) Britain's biggest union will today condemn Birmingham City Council for spending in excess of Pounds Sterling 5 million of tax payers money on its PFI project without having delivered a single new street light.

Unite believes that between 2001 and 2006 Birmingham City Council have spent in excess of Pounds Sterling 5 million of tax payers money to plan for the transfer of Birmingham's public highway, street lighting and structures infrastructures services to private ownership. The millions have been spent on consultants, legal fees and financial advice.

According to information received under the Freedom of Information Act by Unite, Birmingham City Council spent Pounds Sterling 1.45 million on legal advice and almost Pounds Sterling 3 million on consultants between 2004 and 2006.

Claims have been made that consultants Mott Macdonald in conjunction with Birmingham City Council officers produced an outline Business Case based on the needs of Portsmouth City Council. But Portsmouth is an island below sea level and requires very different drainage systems.

Unite and other unions have been telling the Tory/Lib-Dem council for some time that they are wasting tax payers money on preparing a business case for privatisation which is over exaggerated and fundamentally flawed. The original vision of the PFI project which was supposed to deliver 'gold plated streets' has become so diluted under the Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition that it is unrecognisable.

The original PFI proposals were forecast to cost Pounds Sterling 2.25 billion over 25 years however Unite believe that the costs of the project has increased significantly to an undisclosed sum. The union believes that under the diluted PFI proposal the project will not deliver any significant improvements to Birmingham City's infrastructure and tax payers will have to shoulder the burden of the debt for years to come.

Unite Regional Officer, Lynne Shakespeare, says:

"Birmingham City's Tory/Lib-Dem council has been wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers money yet the people of Birmingham have absolutely nothing to show for it. Just think of how many street lights and pot holes could have been repaired with the millions Birmingham City council has spent on consultants and lawyers. It's time to seek an alternative.

"Unite believes that the project should be supported by 'prudential borrowing' which would represent much better value than PFI and still ensure improvements to Birmingham's infrastructure."

-ENDS-

Notes:

Unite was formed on 1st May 2007 by a merger of Amicus and the T&G. The union has 1.97million in the UK, making it the country's largest trade union.

Contact Information

  • Unite
    Ciaran Naidoo
    07768 931 315