Labour turns on hospital PFI deal

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The controversial finance deal behind Pinderfields Hospital could be scrapped if the Labour Party gets into power.

Labour announced plans to cease using the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to fund public sector projects at the party conference.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust faces costly repayments, currently running at around £4m a month, to the private firm which owns new hospitals built under PFI in Wakefield and Pontefract.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said a Labour government would look at bringing PFI schemes into public ownership.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh welcomed the announcement, despite having backed the use of PFI to fund the hospitals.

Ms Creagh said: “My number one priority is to get the best healthcare services for people in Wakefield, and I am proud that the last Labour government delivered a state of the art hospital for our city. PFI made it possible to do that.

“I welcome the shadow chancellor’s commitment to review those contracts to ensure the taxpayer is getting value for money.”

The Express previously revealed that ownership of Mid Yorkshire’s hospitals was acquired by HICL Infrastructure Company - a private equity firm based in Guernsey, where companies are not subject to UK corporation tax.

At the Labour conference Mr McDonnell criticised the use of offshore companies to acquire PFI projects. He said: “Never again will this waste of taxpayer money be used to subsidise the profits of shareholders, often based in offshore tax havens.”