£58m paid out already for three city PFI projects

This Altnagelvin cost private investors �15.5m. They've been paid over �13m already with most of a 25 year contract left to run.
This Altnagelvin cost private investors �15.5m. They've been paid over �13m already with most of a 25 year contract left to run.

Almost £60m has already been paid out to private sector providers for £70.5m in upfront capital for a pharmacy lab, two schools and a higher level learning block in Londonderry.

That’s despite the fact that the three contracts have most of their collective 75 years left to run and that annual unitary repayments are rising at a rapid rate.

First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness were asked about 39 operational Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) in Northern Ireland by way of an Assembly Question.

The Ministers listed the Western Trust pharmacy lab, the North West Regional College (NWRC) Northland Building and the St Cecilia’s and St Mary’s rebuilds amongst the current operational contracts.

The Ministers explained: “Details of all PFI projects are collected and collated by HM Treasury annually and published on their website. OFMDFM collates information from organisations here with PFI projects for the HM Treasury exercise.”

The Treasury figures, which have been examined by the Sentinel, reveal how much each one is estimated to cost broken down by year between now and 2030.

At present estimates for annual payments are only listed until 2020/21.

According to the figures the annual payments for the ‘tech’s’ £10m Northland Building have risen from £2.1m in 2005/6 to £2.9m in 2013/14 and are expected to rise to £3.4m by 2020/21. Thus £22.6m has already been paid out. The original capital outlay is listed by the Treasury as £10m.

The first unitary charge payment for the Altnagelvin pharmacy lab was £300k in 2006/7. That’s now up to £2m, according to the Treasury, and will rise to £2.3m by the end of the decade.

Already £13.6m has been paid out for the original £15.5m capital investment required to build it.

And for the most recent project - new schools for St Cecilia’s and St Mary’s - the annual payment has risen from £3.2m in 2010/11 to £6.4m in 2013/14. That’s forecast to rise to £7.1m by 2020/21. In the four years to date £22.1m has been paid out by way of annual charges. The total capital value of the schools is £45m.

In January the Sentinel reported how the private sector was set to pocket £7.3billion in public payments over the lifetime of the 39 PFIs.

That’s not far off the annual £10billion subvention from the Treasury that accounts for 93 per cent of the Executive’s annual funding needs.