Richard Leonard pledges to ‘boot out’ PFI deals from NHS

Richard Leonard made the promise during a speech in Dundee. Picture: TSPL
Richard Leonard made the promise during a speech in Dundee. Picture: TSPL
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Labour leader Richard Leonard has pledged to scrap costly PFI deals in Scottish hospitals with a call to for the deals to be "booted out" of the NHS.

It emerged today that Labour MSP Jenny Marra will bring forward a Bill at Holyrood in the coming weeks which will see car parking charges ended at Dundee's Ninewells Hospital as part of a party shift to end the private finance deals in Scotland NHS.

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Mr Leonard set out his plans during a keynote speech in Dundee today where he also pledged the "biggest programme of social and economic reform in history of the Scottish Parliament" if he becomes First Minister.

He acknowledged that Labour was responsible for many of the older, more costly PFI deals in Scotland's hospitals, like Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and Ninewells in Dundee, when it was last in power.

But he said: "We need to start first of all by looking at those PFI projects which frankly are coming towards the end of their 25 year and 30 year lifespan and look at how we can end those with more immediate effect.

"Secondly my priority is to look at the operation of PFI contracts in the NHS as a priority. I think that the exercise of the profit motive in the national health service is an anathema and I want to see that ended as quickly as possible.

"I'm not going to undertake to buy out to the full value all of those PFI deals because there are too many of them and the value of them is too great, it would stop us dong all the other things we want to do.

"But I think it was Nye Bevan who said the religion of socialism is the language of priorities and I would invoke Nye Bevan to say one of the areas where I would want to see as a priority PFI booted out is in the National Health Service."

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