Thursday, 15 April 2010

Privately Funded Investment

Carlton Towers before demolition

PFIs are a major problem for communities.
For some reason the government and councils seem to think they are a 'good thing'.
Perhaps something to do with money?

I only really know PFIs from education where they are a complete and utter disaster.

A truly dismal PFI school in Leeds

We have more schools now that leak, that have health and safety issues, that are falling into disrepair because the PFI companies are reneging on their contracts and failing to maintain the buildings, that do not meet the needs of the students, that are too small for the number of pupils, that do not allow SEN pupils access to individual technology, that have to be added to because essentials like fire escapes have been forgotten, that have classrooms that can't fit 30 desks so can't hold a class, that came into use months after the deadline and millions over the budgets.............. than we ever had before the program was started. There's even a report that says that the victorian buildings they have often replaced were actually greener and more energy efficient than the new ones.

I went round one PFI school two weeks after it opened to students and was absolutely astounded at the poor quality of the building and workmanship - there was water running down the wall of the brand new ICT suite, cracked windows where the frames had been put in skewed, lino that was raised and splitting, electrics unfinished with wires hanging loose, gutters not fitted, and green moss growing up the walls on the outside where they were so damp.

They are a disgrace and many need to be pulled down and started again with proper planning and decent materials.

But the more I hear about PFIs involved in public housing contracts the more worried I become about what is happening to people who are dependent on social housing.
Every time there is a new project it seems we lose more than we gain - in Little London there will be far fewer homes than have been knocked down and most of them won't even be council houses, they will be 'affordable homes' but who can afford them? Certainly not the residents who have been dispossessed and had their homes demolished.
Many of those families are now having to live in privately rented accommodation without the security and safeguards they had in their flats and at much higher rents.

As the housing pool gets smaller and the communities struggle to maintain their cohesion I can only see things getting worse.

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