The Declining Role of the State in Infrastructure Investments in the UK
This paper explores the increasing private involvement in social infrastructure projects in the UK since 1979. It begins by reviewing the effect of privatisation on the quantity of investment undertaken by the utility sector. The evidence is consistent with the view that the private sector is capable of raising the necessary finance. The history, theory and experience of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) is then discussed. Five case studies of major PFI projects are reviewed, covering hospitals, prisons, computer services and transport projects. The author concludes that the PFI has been a qualified success in the UK especially when compared with the experience under the previous regime of government procurement.
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