HC Deb 09 June 1997 vol 295 cc348-9W
Mr. Edwards

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement about the future of the private finance initiative in relation to the national health service. [2379]

Mr. Win Griffiths

As my hon. Friend knows, the Government is currently undertaking an urgent review of the Private Finance Initiative. This is being led by the Paymaster General. In addition, officials in the Welsh Office Health Department are working with their colleagues in the Department of Health to determine what changes are necessary to ensure the PFI delivers the range of health care facilities which so far it has failed to do. As a first step, we have introduced the NHS (Private Finance) Bill in order to provide the necessary assurance to the private sector that Trusts can enter into PFI contracts. This should break the current logjam of projects.

We expect all of this work to be completed quickly. The review led by my hon. Friend will report by 13 June. Officials are working to a slightly longer timetable; and if all goes well, the Bill will be enacted before the summer recess. We are determined to give the PFI a new impetus so that we can start building new health facilities to carry us through to the 21st Century.