The Labour party should Stand Up, Front Up and accept they got it wrong on PFI

Following recent media coverage that highlighted the £700,000 annual bill which Dyfed Powys Police Force pays to maintain its Ammanford station, Plaid Cymru politicians, Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM and MP Jonathan Edwards have hit out at the Carmarthenshire branch of the Labour Party for what the politicians describe as political point scoring.

The Plaid Cymru representatives, whose constituency office is also based in Ammanford, said that the Labour party’s call for an Inquiry into the PFI contract is hypocritical considering Labour’s love affair with Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) under Gordon Brown. They also said that Labour should be ashamed of the way in which the party has dragged the name of a local reputable company through the mud for its own political gain.

Commenting jointly, the Plaid Cymru AM and MP said:

“A Private Finance Initiative has been the only option available to many authorities to invest in public infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and police stations and we cannot blame authorities for wanting to develop new facilities for their communities. But Private Finance contracts such as Ammanford Police Station, the Severn Bridge and Baglan Hosptial come at a price. 


“Last year we exposed how local Councils in Wales have a £1.4billion PFI debt and fork out over £40million a year on these contracts. This is money which is being diverted from front line services. That’s why it has always been a principle of Plaid Cymru that PFIs do not provide value for money – a position we took into Government in the last Assembly term. 


“Given the tough economic climate and a 41% cut in capital funding from the Westminster Government, authorities cannot be tempted to continue with such an expensive funding method which sees significant sums of money being lost from budgets to pay off these enormous debts. 


“That’s why Plaid Cymru has already put forward an exciting proposal to develop infrastructure and create jobs at a much more affordable level via our Build4Wales not-for-distributable profit company.  This has the potential to raise up to £500million for infrastructure projects. 


“Unless the Labour Government here in Wales accepts Plaid Cymru’s proposal, we could see projects such as the Ammanford relief road or Llandeilo bypass built using the same costly PFI contracts that Labour is suddenly against.


“It is hypocritical and an absolute disgrace to see the Labour party in Carmarthenshire dragging the good name of a local company through the mud for its own political advantage and in order to hide the Labour party’s shameful love affair with PFI contracts.  Labour is actively undervaluing a local company when the company has only followed the financial structures Labour itself put in place.


“If the Labour party in Carmarthenshire wants a full investigation of how such costly PFI contracts were allowed to go ahead in Ammanford, it should start its inquiry squarely at the door of Gordon Brown who actively encouraged the use of PFI contracts in order to keep public debt levels off the balance books.


“The Labour party needs to stand up, front up and accept they got it wrong.”


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