Jeremy Corbyn calls for a fund to bail out NHS trusts from PFI schemes
Jeremy Corbyn has said that he will campaign to established fund to bail out NHS trusts from PFI schemes “forced upon them”.In an article on the Guardian, the leadership candidate criticises private finance initiative (PFI) schemes used under the last Labour government to invest in the NHS and build new hospitals. Through these public infrastructure projects are funded with money from the private sector.
He has said that if leader of the opposition, he would “campaign for a fund to be set up to bail out NHS trusts from PFI schemes forced upon them.” Corbyn argues that this will “save our NHS, rebuild our economic credibility and, most important, save lives.”
Corbyn praises Sadiq Khan, who is standing to be Labour’s candidate for London Mayor, who recently said he would said he would think about buying up London hospital’s debt. But the leadership candidate says this plan would need to be rolled out across the whole country.
However, the Islington North MP notes that any policy put forward by his team is “a proposal” on which the party must decide. “I am standing to be elected as our leader, not a dictator”, he writes.
Corbyn says that the Labour leadership team ignored warnings over PFI from Unison, in particular a motion calling for a moratorium on PFI deals and a review at the party’s conference in 2002. “Party members and affiliates backed the motion overwhelmingly”, he says.
In his attack on PFI deals, Corbyn argues “much of the PFI debt is now owned offshore, to avoid paying tax on the profits generated from the taxes you and I pay. Huge profits from public money are being made by tax dodgers. This isn’t the NHS that Nye Bevan built.”
“In the last parliament, NHS trusts were given a £1.5bn bailout to fund PFI repayments while waiting lists grew and grew. For some hospitals, the debt is unsustainable. Two-thirds of NHS trusts in deficit have PFI debts. Figures from the Unite union show that 15 NHS trusts are spending over 5% of their annual budget on PFI financing, while five spend over 10%,” he writes.