Northern Ireland abandons largest PFI project: Public Finance

Posted on March 1, 2009 · Posted in Public Finance

 

Northern Ireland’s largest PFI scheme has been abandoned because of the downturn in the economy. The Department of Finance and Personnel confirmed it is cancelling the Workplace 2010 programme that would have sold and leased back civil service office accommodation in a 25 year transaction valued at £1.5bn.

 

Workplace 2010 was suspended in October last year, following merger discussions between the two preferred bidders that have since led to the acquisition of Trillium by Telereal. Finance minister Nigel Dodds said then that the project would be reviewed in the light of the fall in property values.

 

It has now been decided to abandon Workplace 2010 for the “forseeable future”. A spokesperson for the Department of Finance and Personnel said: “We regret that wider economic conditions have prevented the conclusion of the Workplace 2010 contract. It simply does not make sense to proceed given the decline in property values and the difficulty in securing finance.”

 

John Corey, general secretary of Northern Ireland’s main public sector union NIPSA, said the decision was “good news”. “Stopping this PFI contract will save millions of pounds in charges in future years,” he said. “NIPSA warned many times of the dangers and folly of this procurement.”