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Reaping what you sow II -


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The ABILITY to sign up for PFI schemes was there pre-Labour.

 

The DETAILS of the specific contracts they entered into are nobody elses fault but theirs.

 

Having said that, many of the figures being scaremongered around the press are extremely misleading. It's being claimed that the eventual total cost of £50 billion worth of assets built using PFI deals will be £200 billion spread over the next 40 years or so. That's about 4 times the initial cost of the asset. Sounds like massive overcharging at first glance!

 

Now take for example a mortgage on a house, coz that's basically what PFI's are - mortgages which include maintenance and upkeep of the buildings.

 

A house bought for £200,000 on a 40 year mortgage fixed at (say) 4% interest will result in total payments of around £960,000 over the life of the loan - that's nearly FIVE times the initial cost of the asset. AND, it doesn't include anything towards the maintenance and upkeep of the house.

 

Labour could probably have got a much better deal by signing up for shorter "mortgages", but then the "monthly payments" - which would have to come out of the health authorities budgets each year - would be correspondingly higher.

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So - we borrowed money (mortgage) that we didn't have,

Governments have always borrowed money - it's called the PSBR. They used to do it by issuing gilts and government bonds.

with an onus to pay back with interest we couldn't afford,

both gilts and bonds almost always have higher interest rates than the 4% used in my example.

for an asset that we won't own at the end - errm, sounds about right - hence the financial crash. :roll:

At the end of the PFI deals we WILL own the assets. That's the whole point of them, and is what makes them different from simply sub-contracting out provision of facilities to the private sector. :roll::roll::roll:

 

And in the meantime we have the benefit of £50 billion worth of new schools and hospitals, which we wouldn't otherwise have been able to afford to build. It's EXACTLY the same as buying a house on a mortgage. You pay more for it in the long run than if you spend years saving up to pay cash on the nail, but you get to live in it while you're paying for it - so you don't have to fork out for alternative accomodation while you're getting the cash together.

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Well aware that "Governments borrow", they've just borrowed a record amount in August, despite the era of austerity. But "borrowing" and spending more than we earn is what got us into the current mess. However, ironically, the cure appears to be the hair of the dog - IE more short term borrowing and spending on stimulus packages; question is, what constitutes "a stimulus"? Not sure new buildings (Hospitals and schools) do? Ultimately however, we need to secure a balanced budget, so eradicating debt would seem the overall goal and PFIs were/are a myopic venture that adds more debt to future generations. btw. the prog I watched on the subject, specifically mentioned that the asset would revert to the lender at the end of the period, which suggests a rental arrangement rather than a mortgage. :unsure:

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Not sure exactly what "run down" means, old yeah; but imo schools/hospitals are defined by the service/results they provide NOT by the buildings which contain them. Capital schemes should be reserved for general economic efficiency improvements EG. transport, communications, energy infrastructures - subject to cost benefit analysis of course. Large civil engineering schemes would presumably suck in large numbers of (unskilled) labour (unless they're all Polish!), paying taxes and spending in the high street. Sad thing is, the UK doesn't appear to have a good record for "big projects". As for revenue, well, your not far off the mark, not a levy on "every" man, just the Banks, the rich - the very folk who got us into this mess in the first place - the folk with the broadest shoulders bearing the weight - after all, we're all in it together, arn't we?! :unsure:

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Old hospitals are harder to clean and therefore have higher MRSA rates. Old hospitals aren't configured with rooms and wards which work well with modern clinical practice. Old hospitals simply don't have the electrical, data and plumbing infrastructures to support modern medical facilities such as scanners and the like. Old buildings generally are far more expensive to heat, light, and maintain than new ones - and they still quite often contain toxic materials such as asbestos! Old schools and colleges are harder to equip with new technologies and harder to teach in than new ones. All of these things are bound to impact the service/results achieved in these buildings. And apart from anything else, buildings just plain wear out and at some point they just plain need replacing.

 

And when they do, what makes you think that the construction trades needed to build the new ones are unskilled? Can you lay 1000 bricks to a high standard in a day? Can you erect scaffolding or steel frames and be sure that it's fit for purpose and safe for people to work on? Can you operate a tower crane and place loads within an inch or two of where they need to be whilst sat in a cab 100 feet in the air? Can you install and commission an HVAC system in a large, complex building - making sure you have the correct positive pressure differential in sterile areas such as operating theatres? I really think you need to re-examine your "presumption" that there are large numbers of unskilled workers in construction or civil engineering.

 

Now to the paying for it all side.

 

The "rich" as you term them already pay far more in taxes than their fair share - 40% income tax, 50% income tax, higher rate National Insurance, VAT on "luxury" goods. Whilst at the same time placing a far lower than average load on publicly funded services.

 

There are reckoned to be around 500,000 millionaires in the UK (although, that includes property and pension fund assets so the vast majority of them are possibly not all that rich at all!), so your levy on the "rich" would have to be at least £100,000 on each of these. As far as "cash" millionaires go there are probably only somewhere in the region of 50,000 of those in the UK, so now your levy is going to have to be over £1 million each.

 

I can't think of a quicker way to encourage them all to move abroad and stop paying tax altogether!

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Of course buildings wear out, but so do cloths, and you don't buy a new suit if you can't afford it - well once upon a time folk didn't! Like anything else, building programmes are a question of affordability and priorities, in the context of the new assumed budgetry dicipline. :shock: Of course the building trade employs "skilled" labour, and it would provide an opportunity to train young folk in aquiring a trade, instead of aspiring to a career in dance or media studies; but it also remains relatively labour intensive, and employs large numbers of unskilled labourers, thus allowing rapid employment from the dole queues; assuming young Brits will get out of bed in a morning and that Poles don't take all the jobs! :shock: "The rich" don't pay their fair share of taxes, with their lawyers and accountants steering them through every tax loop hole and shifting capital to off-shore accounts etc; they are estimated to pay less than 10% on average; a point supported by Warren Buffet in the USA - hence Obama's latest move to increase revenues from them; hence the rhetoric at the LibDem Conference about them paying their fair share. As for this nonesense about them "moving abroad"; fine, as long as capital doesn't; it's quite possible for Governments to seize assets at home or abroad - after all, didn't they sequestrate the NUM's funds and havn't they just done a deal with Swiss Banks to automatically pay us a proportion of owed tax from "secret" accounts? The money is out there in spades, enough to pay off our deficit ten times over - we just require the political will to do it. :shock:

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If you think about it the people who wanted the PFI in the first place were the treasury officials. The politicians are too thick to understand the implications and just follow the advice of the mandarins. So if you want to place the blame for any of this then it is towards the untouchables who will wave back smiling from their impregnable ivory towers, in full knowledge that whatever happens their index linked pensions are safe. :angry: :angry: :angry:

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Old doesn't automatically equals unhygienic; hygiene is a matter of procedural dicipline. I recall the clean starched nurses uniforms, in the good old days (and old hospitals) run by a Matron; uniforms that wern't worn off duty and were regularly laundered. Floors and surfaces spotless etc, and special anti-bio cleaning teams. Army medics have to operate in tents, so "new" isn't the priority, "clean" is. :roll:

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Since when did "new surfaces" equate to "new Hospitals" Ink?! A bed, an operating table etc are part of the funishings and classed as equipment. As for the rest, harder to clean or not, perfectly OK IF cleaned properly - which is probably where the problem lies nowadays - lazy, ill diciplined staff who can't/won't do their jobs properly? The RCN have apparently requested an extension to visitors hours and for relatives to "help" in patient care - I wonder why - perhaps the "big society" will help in doing the cleaning?! :D:roll:

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Well Warrington hospital have cut their visiting hours from 18:30 - 20:00 to 18:30 - 19:30..... so that aint happening... plus what is wrong with the patients family getting involved Obs? I help out whenever I can with my mum; wether she is at home with her carers or in the hospital because she will do things when I ask her that she refuses to do for them sometimes..... like eat and drink. Maybe I should take your view and just leave her to to not eat and drink?

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A more accurate analogy would be Baz; would you "get involved" to the point of attempting a citizen's arrest, or leave it to those with the skills, equipment and training; and hopefully dedication?! :wink: :wink:

 

 

Sounds like a copout to me obs. Any man worth his salt reacts instantly without doing the PC bit. :roll:

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