Despite widespread criticism of PFI, the SNP looks to the private sector for infrastructure investment

During a time of growing scepticism around private finance initiatives (PFI), Nicola Sturgeon has signalled that the Scottish National Party will be pursuing PFI as a new measure within Scotland’s upcoming programme for government, according to the Financial Times.

The announcement frames the outlook towards PFI as an opportunity to improve infrastructure and to help bring Scottish spending on infrastructure investment up to the level found in other G7 nations.  This comes at a time when the SNP’s political approach has been seen by some as stagnating, with critics claiming that “the SNP is looking increasingly tired after 11 years in government”, alongside criticism that the party may have yielded various failed policy approaches over the years.

As reported by the Financial Times, while the use of PFI to fund infrastructure development may sound like a strong political move, some have cautioned that seeking “greater private sector involvement in financing will be politically sensitive”.  Adding further cause for concern regarding this privatized approach is the widespread criticism of PFI stemming from the United Kingdom government’s negative experience with the financing initiative.  With evidence cautioning that PFI may not be in the public’s best interest, why then do we see UK governments continuing to pursue this approach?