16 January 2003
Purchasers have backed the government's controversial private finance initiative (PFI) in a poll carried out by SM.
In the online survey, 56 per cent of purchasers said private finance initiative deals offered the best option for the procurement of public infrastructure projects, such as schools, hospitals and roads.
The poll attracted 196 votes, 37 per cent of which were against the initiative, which transfers a large amount of the risk of public-sector projects to private sector contractors. A further 7 per cent were unsure of its worth.
At one point during the poll, purchasers were split 50-50.
The findings follow an Office of Government Commerce report claiming that PFI refinancing deals for the construction of Calverdale Hospital and the Ministry of Defence's Joint Services Command and Staff College have saved the taxpayer £4 million.
More than 500 PFI projects have been signed, but the initiative remains controversial.
Last month the Institute for Public Policy Research called for scrutiny of its use after it revealed that spending watchdogs have examined 6 per cent of completed projects.
• To take part in the next online poll, on Prince Charles's "buy British" call, visit www.supplymanagement.com