RBS Chairman, Sir Howard Davies, labelled PFI “a fraud on the people” during a flagship BBC political show on Thursday.
— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) January 18, 2018
Yet RBS was one of the ‘biggest players’ in PFI, and Davies has formerly held positions as head of City regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), and head of the Audit Commission. Davies failed to raise PFIs as an issue during tenure at either of these regulatory roles.
“My question to Howard Davies is this,’ says journalist and author Ian Fraser, ‘if he thinks it is “a fraud on the public”, when will the bank that he chairs compensate the British public (and indeed the public in all the other markets where RBS’s infrastructure finance division foisted rip-off PFI/PPP contracts on governments) for having been a key perpetuator of this fraud?”
Further, the general public consistently opposed PFI by a two-thirds majority, with the UK Government ignoring calls for moratorium on these contracts in 2002. Polling by Yougov in 2016 showed 68% of Brits wanted PFI contracts banned, climbing to 73% in Scotland where PFI contracts are most concentrated.
Questions must be asked as to why this fraudulent model of infrastructure financing was implemented and the continued role of HM Treasury (HMT) in delivery of the policy through its Partnerships UK organ.
RBS was a 6.1% shareholder in HMT’s privatised PFI advice and delivery unit Partnerships UK – which advocated for public sector bodies to enter PFI’s, despite applicable interest rates being twice the rates of alternative Government loans.
If, as RBS Chair, Sir Howard Davies claims ‘PFI is a fraud’ then RBS was a lobbyist for, shareholder investor in, and leading lender to – that fraud, globally.
BELOW: Our interview with Ian Fraser on the RBS dept which asset stripped and destroyed small UK businesses is out today: