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Privately Financed Capital in Public Services

David Heald

The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, 1997, vol. 65, issue 5, 568-98

Abstract: Recent changes in UK policy, notably the retirement of the 1981 Ryrie rules, presage a substantial increase in the use of private finance for public sector projects. The most important features of the relaxations of 1989 and 1992 relate to: successive modifications of the value-for money tests, notably, in connection with removing the requirement for a systematic comparison with a hypothetical publicly financed project (e.g., when the private sector can be directly remunerated by user tolls); less stringent rules on leasing; and allowing private borrowing on the security of Exchequer-funded assets. The crucial issues are identified to be: the extent of private finance and the implications for macroeconomic indicators; whether the hypothesized operational efficiency gains are sufficient to offset higher financing costs; whether risk is genuinely transferred to the private sector; and whether risk ought to be transferred to the private sector. Copyright 1997 by Blackwell Publishers Ltd and The Victoria University of Manchester

Date: 1997
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