Thursday, 15 May 2014

£200m Boost for Velindre Cancer Centre

Investment is a shot in arm for public services

Is this a genuine commitment, or is it a pre-election ‘Good News’ story ?

I don’t know if you bothered to read the Jane Hutt spin and witchcraft surrounding such  a grand announcement, but for those  who didn’t, please permit me to unravel the mystery of “Where do they get £200m cash from, when health services have been cut to the bone ?”  Not forgetting, of course, that we poor plebeians are truly living on the bread line, unable to access health services. This is just as insulting to us as giving money to foreign countries – most of whom are better off than us.

The explanation is rather complicated by the fact that Ms Hutt is not being perfectly honest with us.  In the announcement she stated that all this money would create 6.500 jobs ( yeah right ). Presumably these will be imported labourers who will carry on making the A465, heads of the valleys road.  She mentions that this will be funded by a tranche of more £300m funded through a successor to the controversial PFI or Private Finance initiative. She confirmed a specialist Velindre Cancer centre will also be built by 2022 with a £210m investment.

She goes on to say that both will be funded using a not-for-profit vehicle first devised by the Scottish government which caps the level of profit for private bodies at the stage funding agreements are made. It’s as plain as the nose on a horse that ALL of the private contractors will make a profit, albeit capped by some unenforceable caveat.  SO – where is this not-for-profit deal  ? or, are we being duped yet again by a government that is desperately trying to hide its incompetence at managing ANY-BLOODY-THING.

Let me be frank !   This is a phoney deal to arrange an off-the-balance-sheet method of Capital funding, that is made to look as though the government 1) Has this money and 2) will actually spend their own money directly.  A PFI scheme – by any other name, is a means by which a private developer will build the project ( at a higher cost than direct NHS funding). And then recharge the government every year with an enormous fee for the privilege of having the contractor ‘Manage’ the completed project, instead of the government.

A memorable example of this financial stupidity is the new St. Davids hospital on Cowbridge Road West at the town end of Canton.  When the NHS put this project directly to contractors, they arrived at a complete build cost of £16m – very competitive and in-line with costs of building other hospitals.  However, our incompetent government decided on a Private Finance Initiative – on that will have cost the government over £60m paid to the contractor. A Good Deal ? – I think NOT.  I shudder to think what the final total expenditure will be under Ms Hutt’s terrifying proposal.          R.W.

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