Govt ‘biased in favour of private financing’

The UK government’s methodology for deciding whether to use public or private finance to build new infrastructure is biased against public borrowing, a new report has claimed.

According to the Institute for Government, Westminster is using private sector cash to keep spending off its books, even where this appears to be poor value for money.

The Public versus Private report claims that the way the government assesses options and allocates money means it favours private finance to deliver infrastructure.

It calls on the government to change the way it accounts, appraises and budgets for infrastructure and urges Chancellor Philip Hammond to “remove the arbitrary exclusion of private finance from the National Infrastructure Commission’s remit”.

“With private finance once again politically controversial, it’s crucial that the government makes evidence based financing choices,” said Nick Davies, associate director at the Institute for Government. “Private finance should be used when it is better value, not solely when it is off balance sheet.”