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Thread: Lest we forget

  1. #1
    Coaching Staff Hibbyradge's Avatar
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    Lest we forget

    Along with restoring Trade Union rights at GCHQ, here's a wee list of Labourís achievements since being elected in 1997

    1. Longest period of sustained low inflation since the 60s.

    2. Low mortgage rates.

    3. Introduced the National Minimum Wage and raised it to £5.52.

    4. Over 14,000 more police in England and Wales.

    5. Cut overall crime by 32 per cent.

    6. Record levels of literacy and numeracy in schools.

    7. Young people achieving some of the best ever results at 14, 16, and 18.

    8. Funding for every pupil in England has doubled.

    9. Employment is at its highest level ever.

    10. Written off up to 100 per cent of debt owed by poorest countries.

    11. 85,000 more nurses.

    12. 32,000 more doctors.

    13. Brought back matrons to hospital wards.

    14. Devolved power to the Scottish Parliament.

    15. Devolved power to the Welsh Assembly.

    16. Dads now get paternity leave of 2 weeks for the first time.

    17. NHS Direct offering free convenient patient advice.

    18. Gift aid was worth £828 million to charities last year.

    19. Restored city-wide government to London.

    20. Record number of students in higher education.

    21. Child benefit up 26 per cent since 1997.

    22. Delivered 2,200 Sure Start Childrenís Centres.

    23. Introduced the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

    24. £200 winter fuel payment to pensioners & up to £300 for over-80s.

    25. On course to exceed our Kyoto target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    26. Restored devolved government to Northern Ireland.

    27. Over 36,000 more teachers in England and 274,000 more support staff and teaching assistants.

    28. All full time workers now have a right to 24 days paid holiday.

    29. A million pensioners lifted out of poverty.

    30. 600,000 children lifted out of relative poverty.

    31. Introduced child tax credit giving more money to parents.

    32. Scrapped Section 28 and introduced Civil Partnerships.

    33. Brought over 1 million social homes up to standard.

    34. Inpatient waiting lists down by over half a million since 1997.

    35. Banned fox hunting.

    36. Cleanest rivers, beaches, drinking water and air since before the industrial revolution.

    37. Free TV licences for over-75s.

    38. Banned fur farming and the testing of cosmetics on animals.

    39. Free breast cancer screening for all women aged between 50-70.

    40. Free off peak local bus travel for over-60s.

    41. New Deal Ė helped over 1.8 million people into work.

    42. Over 3 million child trust funds have been started.

    43. Free eye test for over 60s.

    44. More than doubled the number of apprenticeships.

    45. Free entry to national museums and galleries.

    46. Overseas aid budget more than doubled.

    47. Heart disease deaths down by 150,000 and cancer deaths down by 50,000.

    48. Cut long-term youth unemployment by 75 per cent.

    49. Free nursery places for every three and four-year-olds.

    50. Free fruit for most four to six-year-olds at school.

    That was the first term. What a sell out.


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    @hibs.net private member Hibernia&Alba's Avatar
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    There's a great deal in that list I support. But New Labour was the kind of focus group driven policy making that was devoid of much content. During 13 years New Labour also pushed privatisation and deregulation, including for the financial sector which eventually collapsed in on itself. The neoliberal mantra wasn't challenged and inequality grew. There was no push redistribution of wealth; those at the very bottom, welfare claimants, were kicked from pillar to post, portrayed as feckless shirkers, just like the Tories do. Of course I'd prefer a Labour government to a Tory one, but New Labour was a timid, anaemic version, drawn up via marketing executives and not using the massive majorities it had to create a fundamentally fairer society. Blair scrapped clause four, privatised, deregulated, bowed to the banks and the stock market, was in the pocket of a right wing Republican U.S. president, refused to restore any of the trade union rights stripped under the Tories, mortgaged schools and hospitals via PFI, supported globalisation, launched Britain into an illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    A very mixed record. Some good progress but not nearly enough for 13 years of government with huge majorities, and Iraq dominates all of it.
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  4. #3
    Testimonial Due Colr's Avatar
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    Enormous investment in schools, hospitals and urban regeneration over that period as well - kept me in good employment!!

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    @hibs.net private member Hibernia&Alba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colr View Post
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    Enormous investment in schools, hospitals and urban regeneration over that period as well - kept me in good employment!!
    There was, Colr, but much of it was done via PFI, which means we'll be paying for it for 25 years and a massive mark up.
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    @hibs.net private member Mibbes Aye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hibernia&Alba View Post
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    There was, Colr, but much of it was done via PFI, which means we'll be paying for it for 25 years and a massive mark up.
    Something that seems to get missed is the absolute shambles so much of our schools and hospitals estate was in, by the mid-nineties. I remember it well.

    Buildings that were falling to bits, portakabins for primary classrooms, wards that weren't wind and watertight.

    These were buildings that weren't fit for purpose but they were buildings that our sick were meant to be healed in and our children were meant to be taught in.

    It's scary to think where we would be if there hadn't been massive investment in building schools and hospitals at that time.

    I doubt anyone posting on here was privy to the decision-making processes at the time but what I do remember is that Labour had committed to matching the Tory spending plans as a means of countering the argument the Tories had used since the late 70s, about Labour's economic credibility.

    They were never going to achieve power on a pledge to hike taxes, even for something as worthy as rebuilding hospitals and schools.

    Which begs the question, how do you actually do the right thing (make sure state schools and NHS hospitals are fit for purpose)when you can't use the obvious tool (because you won't get elected)?

    I guess the answer is you find a way that's pragmatic, because back in 1997 the country desperately needed the investment in schools and hospitals and it was only going to happen if Labour got the Tories out. Which meant winning enough of a broad vote to govern.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mibbes Aye View Post
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    Something that seems to get missed is the absolute shambles so much of our schools and hospitals estate was in, by the mid-nineties. I remember it well.

    Buildings that were falling to bits, portakabins for primary classrooms, wards that weren't wind and watertight.

    These were buildings that weren't fit for purpose but they were buildings that our sick were meant to be healed in and our children were meant to be taught in.

    It's scary to think where we would be if there hadn't been massive investment in building schools and hospitals at that time.

    I doubt anyone posting on here was privy to the decision-making processes at the time but what I do remember is that Labour had committed to matching the Tory spending plans as a means of countering the argument the Tories had used since the late 70s, about Labour's economic credibility.

    They were never going to achieve power on a pledge to hike taxes, even for something as worthy as rebuilding hospitals and schools.

    Which begs the question, how do you actually do the right thing (make sure state schools and NHS hospitals are fit for purpose)when you can't use the obvious tool (because you won't get elected)?

    I guess the answer is you find a way that's pragmatic, because back in 1997 the country desperately needed the investment in schools and hospitals and it was only going to happen if Labour got the Tories out. Which meant winning enough of a broad vote to govern.
    That's right, they were Ina shocking state. People have forgotten how bad they were and how bad the old 60s housing estates were and how much derelict industrial land was lying in-used.

    PFI was expensive in the first instance as the financiers were unfamiliar with it and priced in risk.mwhen they got used to the idea the price dropped dramatically. Ironically, it is perfect for the current low interest environment.

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    Ireland's Greatest Import Mr White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mibbes Aye View Post
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    Something that seems to get missed is the absolute shambles so much of our schools and hospitals estate was in, by the mid-nineties. I remember it well.

    Buildings that were falling to bits, portakabins for primary classrooms, wards that weren't wind and watertight.

    These were buildings that weren't fit for purpose but they were buildings that our sick were meant to be healed in and our children were meant to be taught in.

    It's scary to think where we would be if there hadn't been massive investment in building schools and hospitals at that time.

    I doubt anyone posting on here was privy to the decision-making processes at the time but what I do remember is that Labour had committed to matching the Tory spending plans as a means of countering the argument the Tories had used since the late 70s, about Labour's economic credibility.

    They were never going to achieve power on a pledge to hike taxes, even for something as worthy as rebuilding hospitals and schools.

    Which begs the question, how do you actually do the right thing (make sure state schools and NHS hospitals are fit for purpose)when you can't use the obvious tool (because you won't get elected)?

    I guess the answer is you find a way that's pragmatic, because back in 1997 the country desperately needed the investment in schools and hospitals and it was only going to happen if Labour got the Tories out. Which meant winning enough of a broad vote to govern.
    At least those buildings had the excuse of being more than 10 years old

  9. #8
    @hibs.net private member Hibernia&Alba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mibbes Aye View Post
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    Something that seems to get missed is the absolute shambles so much of our schools and hospitals estate was in, by the mid-nineties. I remember it well.

    Buildings that were falling to bits, portakabins for primary classrooms, wards that weren't wind and watertight.

    These were buildings that weren't fit for purpose but they were buildings that our sick were meant to be healed in and our children were meant to be taught in.

    It's scary to think where we would be if there hadn't been massive investment in building schools and hospitals at that time.

    I doubt anyone posting on here was privy to the decision-making processes at the time but what I do remember is that Labour had committed to matching the Tory spending plans as a means of countering the argument the Tories had used since the late 70s, about Labour's economic credibility.

    They were never going to achieve power on a pledge to hike taxes, even for something as worthy as rebuilding hospitals and schools.

    Which begs the question, how do you actually do the right thing (make sure state schools and NHS hospitals are fit for purpose)when you can't use the obvious tool (because you won't get elected)?

    I guess the answer is you find a way that's pragmatic, because back in 1997 the country desperately needed the investment in schools and hospitals and it was only going to happen if Labour got the Tories out. Which meant winning enough of a broad vote to govern.

    That's certainly true. Most hospitals were Victorian and totally impractical for modern medicine. Many of the schools had been built in the same period. I'm not knocking for a moment the massive investment in those areas, but we were ripped off hugely by PFI.
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    Testimonial Due Colr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr White View Post
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    At least those buildings had the excuse of being more than 10 years old
    If your referring to the Edinburgh schools, who paid to get them fixed?

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    Ireland's Greatest Import Mr White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colr View Post
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    If your referring to the Edinburgh schools, who paid to get them fixed?
    It was more a comment about the quality and lifespan of those buildings in general than who accepted liability for those specific faults. The infirmary has already had a fair bit spent on renovation and improvement despite it's modest age I believe?

    I know there are some advantages to the PFI system and if more recent projects are providing better value for money then great but from what little I know of these deals and having been inside a few of the finished buildings I'd like to believe that there's another way of providing a better end product.
    Last edited by Mr White; 15-01-2017 at 07:58 AM.

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    Testimonial Due Colr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr White View Post
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    It was more a comment about the quality and lifespan of those buildings in general than who accepted liability for those specific faults. The infirmary has already had a fair bit spent on renovation and improvement despite it's modest age I believe?

    I know there are some advantages to the PFI system and if more recent projects are providing better value for money then great but from what little I know of these deals and having been inside a few of the finished buildings I'd like to believe that there's another way of providing a better end product.
    As good as the buildings they replaced that were shot by 20 years?

    The public sector are driven by cost not quality. That's reflected in their tendering systems and the mind set of their procurement staff. there are a few projects that slip through but you'll often hear them derided as vanity projects. It's the same whether they are paying a lump sum or spreading the cost. But you can see why. One PFI I worked on had two bids - 2 new schools really well designed and a load of refurbished from one bidder 11 rather more unpreposessing new schools. Faced with a choice like that you know which way the decisions going to go. I suppose it comes down to trying to do as much as you can with a limited pot of money. After all buildings are less important to a child's education that teachers.

  13. #12
    Ireland's Greatest Import Mr White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colr View Post
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    As good as the buildings they replaced that were shot by 20 years?

    The public sector are driven by cost not quality. That's reflected in their tendering systems and the mind set of their procurement staff. there are a few projects that slip through but you'll often hear them derided as vanity projects. It's the same whether they are paying a lump sum or spreading the cost. But you can see why. One PFI I worked on had two bids - 2 new schools really well designed and a load of refurbished from one bidder 11 rather more unpreposessing new schools. Faced with a choice like that you know which way the decisions going to go. I suppose it comes down to trying to do as much as you can with a limited pot of money. After all buildings are less important to a child's education that teachers.
    I agree with the bit in bold but you'd hope as a minimum the buildings are at least able to open to the staff and pupils whenever exam time comes around

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr White View Post
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    I agree with the bit in bold but you'd hope as a minimum the buildings are at least able to open to the staff and pupils whenever exam time comes around
    What happened wasn't really a consequence of the funding methodology, though, and the contractual approach meant it was sorted asap without cost to the public purse.

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    Ireland's Greatest Import Mr White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colr View Post
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    What happened wasn't really a consequence of the funding methodology, though, and the contractual approach meant it was sorted asap without cost to the public purse.
    True but I'll be surprised if that's the last hidden fault that comes to light in the public buildings built in Edinburgh in the last few years. It's been a bit of an eye opener since I moved over to NI to see that the quality of design and construction of residential but particularly non residential buildings is noticably better IMO. Maybe there's less pressure or a difference of approach re costs and value for money, I'm not exactly sure. As you rightly point out though the points I'm making aren't entirely relevant to labour's implementation of PFI or indeed any of the other points in the OP

    It just annoys me, the short sightedness of throwing up cheap buildings with such a short lifespan.
    Last edited by Mr White; 15-01-2017 at 11:49 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr White View Post
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    True but I'll be surprised if that's the last hidden fault that comes to light in the public buildings built in Edinburgh in the last few years. It's been a bit of an eye opener since I moved over to NI to see that the quality of design and construction of residential but particularly non residential buildings is noticably better IMO. Maybe there's less pressure or a difference of approach re costs and value for money, I'm not exactly sure. As you rightly point out though the points I'm making aren't entirely relevant to labour's implementation of the PFI or indeed any of the other points in the OP

    It just annoys me, the short sightedness of throwing up cheap buildings with such a short lifespan.
    You could say the same about all the public buildings that went up in the 1960s and were procured directly by the public sector. I went to a school that was barely 14 years old and was falling to pieces and the Council couldn't afford to maintain them. The PFI schools will be maintained as part of the contract.

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    Ireland's Greatest Import Mr White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colr View Post
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    You could say the same about all the public buildings that went up in the 1960s and were procured directly by the public sector. I went to a school that was barely 14 years old and was falling to pieces and the Council couldn't afford to maintain them. The PFI schools will be maintained as part of the contract.
    I didn't say it was a new thing.

    And the contract is being paid up by the tax payer. With the Royal Infirmary is it not the case that the eventual cost to the tax payer will be 7 times the cost of construction?
    Last edited by Mr White; 15-01-2017 at 12:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr White View Post
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    I didn't say it was a new thing.

    And the contract is being paid up by the tax payer. With the Royal Infirmary is it not the case that the eventual cost to the tax payer will be 7 times the cost of construction?
    Its not just the provision of a building though, its services and insurance as well.

    You're right to say that the borrowing is more expensive. PWLB rates are 1-2%. Project finance is around 6.5% but when they refinance in the long term it's about 2.5-3.5% over 30 years. The investors are mostly insurance, pension funds and, interestingly, Councils who invest in a wide range of products across other public sector bodies and Councils. It's true, though, if the funding was to come straight from public funds the interest rate would be lower.

    Where I would disagree is the proposition that a centralised public sector approach would deliver better, cheaper buildings which are well run and maintained properly over time. If the private sector partner doesn't provide a building to the required standard the payments get reduced or stopped which means they can pay their lenders and they are it deep, deep ****. That's a hell of a motivation to perform - as we saw when they fixed the Edinburgh schools.

    The motivation for individuals in the public sector is quite different. I work a lot with public sector bodies and their approach to property is woeful! There's a great NAO report on the subject that I'll try to find for you.

  19. #18
    Ireland's Greatest Import Mr White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colr View Post
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    Its not just the provision of a building though, its services and insurance as well.

    You're right to say that the borrowing is more expensive. PWLB rates are 1-2%. Project finance is around 6.5% but when they refinance in the long term it's about 2.5-3.5% over 30 years. The investors are mostly insurance, pension funds and, interestingly, Councils who invest in a wide range of products across other public sector bodies and Councils. It's true, though, if the funding was to come straight from public funds the interest rate would be lower.

    Where I would disagree is the proposition that a centralised public sector approach would deliver better, cheaper buildings which are well run and maintained properly over time. If the private sector partner doesn't provide a building to the required standard the payments get reduced or stopped which means they can pay their lenders and they are it deep, deep ****. That's a hell of a motivation to perform - as we saw when they fixed the Edinburgh schools.

    The motivation for individuals in the public sector is quite different. I work a lot with public sector bodies and their approach to property is woeful! There's a great NAO report on the subject that I'll try to find for you.
    Fair enough, I'm not going to try and argue with any of that

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    Testimonial Due Colr's Avatar
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    That aside, I remember how happy everyone was on May 2nd 1997. The sun was shining and we've got rid of one of the worst Govenments in living memory for one which offered hope, renewal and opportunity.

    I yearn for a Labour Party that could offer that now!

  21. #20
    Selling off the city and pmr hospitals for next to nothing was a great move. Not shortsighted in the slightest.

    It was mentioned on another thread a while back that they only got about 4 million for the pmr, that will have been spent in the last month looking after older people 'bed blocking' instead of sending them to get better at the pmr or city.

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Colr View Post
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    That aside, I remember how happy everyone was on May 2nd 1997. The sun was shining and we've got rid of one of the worst Govenments in living memory for one which offered hope, renewal and opportunity.

    I yearn for a Labour Party that could offer that now!
    Only for them to carry out much that had been started by tories. Privatisation, selling assets and general pandering to the new middle class.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hibbyradge View Post
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    Along with restoring Trade Union rights at GCHQ, here's a wee list of Labourís achievements since being elected in 1997

    1. Longest period of sustained low inflation since the 60s.

    2. Low mortgage rates.

    3. Introduced the National Minimum Wage and raised it to £5.52.

    4. Over 14,000 more police in England and Wales.

    5. Cut overall crime by 32 per cent.

    6. Record levels of literacy and numeracy in schools.

    7. Young people achieving some of the best ever results at 14, 16, and 18.

    8. Funding for every pupil in England has doubled.

    9. Employment is at its highest level ever.

    10. Written off up to 100 per cent of debt owed by poorest countries.

    11. 85,000 more nurses.

    12. 32,000 more doctors.

    13. Brought back matrons to hospital wards.

    14. Devolved power to the Scottish Parliament.

    15. Devolved power to the Welsh Assembly.

    16. Dads now get paternity leave of 2 weeks for the first time.

    17. NHS Direct offering free convenient patient advice.

    18. Gift aid was worth £828 million to charities last year.

    19. Restored city-wide government to London.

    20. Record number of students in higher education.

    21. Child benefit up 26 per cent since 1997.

    22. Delivered 2,200 Sure Start Childrenís Centres.

    23. Introduced the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

    24. £200 winter fuel payment to pensioners & up to £300 for over-80s.

    25. On course to exceed our Kyoto target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    26. Restored devolved government to Northern Ireland.

    27. Over 36,000 more teachers in England and 274,000 more support staff and teaching assistants.

    28. All full time workers now have a right to 24 days paid holiday.

    29. A million pensioners lifted out of poverty.

    30. 600,000 children lifted out of relative poverty.

    31. Introduced child tax credit giving more money to parents.

    32. Scrapped Section 28 and introduced Civil Partnerships.

    33. Brought over 1 million social homes up to standard.

    34. Inpatient waiting lists down by over half a million since 1997.

    35. Banned fox hunting.

    36. Cleanest rivers, beaches, drinking water and air since before the industrial revolution.

    37. Free TV licences for over-75s.

    38. Banned fur farming and the testing of cosmetics on animals.

    39. Free breast cancer screening for all women aged between 50-70.

    40. Free off peak local bus travel for over-60s.

    41. New Deal Ė helped over 1.8 million people into work.

    42. Over 3 million child trust funds have been started.

    43. Free eye test for over 60s.

    44. More than doubled the number of apprenticeships.

    45. Free entry to national museums and galleries.

    46. Overseas aid budget more than doubled.

    47. Heart disease deaths down by 150,000 and cancer deaths down by 50,000.

    48. Cut long-term youth unemployment by 75 per cent.

    49. Free nursery places for every three and four-year-olds.

    50. Free fruit for most four to six-year-olds at school.

    That was the first term. What a sell out.
    It's a great list and I'm proud to have voted for Labour in 97 and can remember the sense of hope there was the next day. But that's coming up for 20 years ago. They are now a shadow of what they were.

  24. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colr View Post
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    Its not just the provision of a building though, its services and insurance as well.

    You're right to say that the borrowing is more expensive. PWLB rates are 1-2%. Project finance is around 6.5% but when they refinance in the long term it's about 2.5-3.5% over 30 years. The investors are mostly insurance, pension funds and, interestingly, Councils who invest in a wide range of products across other public sector bodies and Councils. It's true, though, if the funding was to come straight from public funds the interest rate would be lower.

    Where I would disagree is the proposition that a centralised public sector approach would deliver better, cheaper buildings which are well run and maintained properly over time. If the private sector partner doesn't provide a building to the required standard the payments get reduced or stopped which means they can pay their lenders and they are it deep, deep ****. That's a hell of a motivation to perform - as we saw when they fixed the Edinburgh schools.

    The motivation for individuals in the public sector is quite different. I work a lot with public sector bodies and their approach to property is woeful! There's a great NAO report on the subject that I'll try to find for you.
    Excellent points. PFI as a principle is absolutely fine in my book....it is after all extremely common practice in the private sector that companies occupy buildings built, owned and maintained by another company (or companies). They do this because the costs of maintaining in house designers, builders and maintenance teams is substantial and often ultimately does not provide any saving at all.

    As ever though the devil is in the detail and no doubt there was some terrible deals struck.

    The earlier points about the state of the public buildings is probably a case in point...money that should have been spent on repair and upgrade was diverted for short termist reasons and the effects were catastrophic, add in shoddy buildings in the first place and general under investment for years and Labour had one hell of a mess to clear up. The scale of the renewal programme was substantial and using PFI to bring forward some of that investment made a lot of sense and resulted in substantial improvements in a relatively short time scale. Again caveated with the fact that the procurement process was often not fit for purpose and maybe a little less haste and an bit more planning might have save countless millions over the long run.

  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiMar View Post
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    Excellent points. PFI as a principle is absolutely fine in my book....it is after all extremely common practice in the private sector that companies occupy buildings built, owned and maintained by another company (or companies). They do this because the costs of maintaining in house designers, builders and maintenance teams is substantial and often ultimately does not provide any saving at all.

    As ever though the devil is in the detail and no doubt there was some terrible deals struck.

    The earlier points about the state of the public buildings is probably a case in point...money that should have been spent on repair and upgrade was diverted for short termist reasons and the effects were catastrophic, add in shoddy buildings in the first place and general under investment for years and Labour had one hell of a mess to clear up. The scale of the renewal programme was substantial and using PFI to bring forward some of that investment made a lot of sense and resulted in substantial improvements in a relatively short time scale. Again caveated with the fact that the procurement process was often not fit for purpose and maybe a little less haste and an bit more planning might have save countless millions over the long run.
    Good points!!

    I agree that there have been some poor deals but I would also say that (mostly in England) some dreadful excesses in terms of the buildings procured. Some very expensive vanity projects.

    I work a lot still on the interface between public and private sectors in property development and even now the public sector side of procurement is kafkaesque, drawn out and burdened by officers who have very little interest in getting the project done. Without the private sector involvement, I very much doubt that the amount of infrastructure that was delivered by New Labour would have been achieved.

    It's a great pity they went. To opposite way with the planning system which is as bad now as it has ever been.

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