Friday, June 16, 2006

Sport for all..

There has been a bit of a rumpus in Morley about our rather decrepit leisure centre. It seems we might be able to improve it using private finance initiative money, but the new one won't have as many facilities. (You can read about it here for the next few months, curtesy the Morley Obtiser.)

This reminds me of the PFI hospital kerfuffle, where new hospitals get built but they generally have less beds.

I have no objection to the principle of PFI involving the private sector, I don't regard profit as a dirty word.

What I do object to, however, is the vast sums of money these schemes cost out of our pockets, due to piss-poor planning & stitch-up contracts. An example of the unintended consequences is the imbalance in Morley Primary schools- some are undersubscribed due to a range of factors, including the new PFI one. However, education Leeds cannot rationally close the PFI one no matter how sensible the decision might be as they are obliged to pay the partner to run it for the next couple of decades regardless.

There is also the business of "off the books". It is simply overextending our credit on a ridiculous scale, having to earmark funds over timescales over a long time hoping no-one will miss it. We all remember our first credit card and the seduction of getting things now and paying later. Yes, you can have that Plasma TV today, it'll only cost you £5 a month for the rest of your life...

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