Readers' letters - January 25

'˜PFI scheme was just a licence to print money'
A correspondent tells of his experience of private finance initiativeA correspondent tells of his experience of private finance initiative
A correspondent tells of his experience of private finance initiative

Quite a few years ago, I was a governor at a large school, within a metropolitan authority.

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It had been signed up to a PFI scheme. I had been a construction professional and adviser involved within the building industry for over 30 years. Having dealt with construction contracts for over 20 years, I was asked to look into the contractual arrangements after the local authority had signed up on behalf of all the schools. Usually I had become associated with contracts that ultimately looked after the interests of the client, but were fair to both sides. When I analysed the PFI contract I found, for the first time in my construction life, that it was totally the opposite of that situation. The contractor was totally in the driving seat, being able to charge astronomical amounts for building works and school support services. Indeed it became clear it was a licence to print money.Basically, PFI was a total rip-off, to put the matter bluntly, but the local authority had signed up blindly to the whole affair and their thinking appeared to be that they were not particularly bothered, as the taxpayer was paying for it anyway.David HillAddress supplied

We now want to remain in EUI was amused to read Paul Nuttall’s assertion in his recent letter that we are not changing our minds on Brexit (WP Letters, January 22). If he actually read the local press instead of simply sending letters to it, he would have seen the front page of the Wigan Post’s sister newspaper, the Wigan Observer. This shows that, in fact, we are, with 54 per cent of readers who took part in the paper’s poll, now supporting Remain.Indeed, the timing of Mr Nuttall’s letter was impeccable – his party has held a leadership vote to choose his successor, and members voted for Henry Bolton. Now, it seems, people have realised that the consequences of that vote aren’t living up to the expectations that were set and his party’s NEC has called for another vote.Surely, Mr Nuttall realises that what’s good for the UKIP goose is good for the gander, and will support the British people “taking back control” of Brexit by supporting their right to have the final say on the Brexit deal in a referendum.If he doesn’t, he’ll be showing all the astuteness that makes him a former leader of his party, and UKIP’s goose may well be cooked.Will PattersonWigan and Leigh Green Party Chairman

Roots of present NHS crisis

Each winter, NHS bosses cry out that they cannot cope with the increased demand for services and need more money.The time must come soon when politicians of all parties ask them why is this happening. If they took a look at how the NHS was run in the late 1980s and early 1990s, they would see that GPs did home visits and organised deputising services to cover “out-of-hours” calls – both of which removed the need for patients to go to A&E departments or call an ambulance.Each hospital had a small management committee taking decisions. Hospital wards were kept open.Politicians must accept that the changes brought in by the Blair government in the late 1990s failed and have the backbone to admit it.The NHS does not need more money, but if all NHS trust members were removed and 99.9 per cent of all hospital managers sacked and replaced with qualified medical staff making medical decisions on redistributing the funds available, the NHS would, once again, belong to the population and not the incompetent managers. Raymond Knightvia email

Duo’s great deeds for UK

Watching and listening to the sorry state of affairs regarding our NHS and crime, it’s a good job we had Sir Winston Churchill to win the war in just five years and Clement Attlee to build the excellent welfare state, also in just five years. Tarquin HolmanAddress supplied