After eight years the £2.7bn PFI deal which Birmingham city council made with private contractor Amey has come to an end.
Amey have agreed to pay the council £160 million to exit early from the contract to look after the highways for 25 years, which was at the time the largest PFI contract for highways, covering the management and maintenance of more than 2,500km of highways, 96,000 street lights, 1,000 traffic signals and more than 850 bridges, structures and tunnels.
In a joint statement agreed after a hearing in the Court of Appeal, the contractor and council announced that:
“The full retendering of the project to find a permanent replacement contractor will take place during 2020-21.”
Workers and ratepayers in Birmingham deserve much better than another hashed PFI outsourcing nightmare. PFI has been proven to be unable to deliver public services time and again. Contractors assume that they will be able to deliver the promised services on a shoestring, happy to cut staff numbers, slash pay, pensions, work breaks, travel time and other rights of employees in their quest to make a profit. Workers must demand that these services are taken back in house.
Politically the lesson for workers is that the Labour party which nationally and locally championed PFI and continues to support big business interests is no friend of the working class. The fight for socialism cannot be taken forward by those who hide this truth from the workers.