The £800m typo

On 19 July, when the Cabinet Office released the numbers for construction spending over the next three years, a collective “what the … ?” could be heard across the industry. It was the figures for the Department of Health that set alarm bells ringing – they appeared to show a framework worth £2.9bn over five years tailing off to almost nothing in just three. For PFI meanwhile, on which the government was supposed to have gone lukewarm, spending was to expand rapidly. What was going on? Were these unfamiliar figures the scorched tyre marks from yet another screeching handbrake turn in government policy? I investigated for Building magazine and found there was a very simple explanation…  And I also uncovered this news story about a £90m PFI hospital on hold, as healthcare trusts struggle to come to terms with their new financial independence.