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New body for major projects
Alistair Darling is to announce a new agency to co-ordinate and deliver of the UK's major infrastructure projects, the guardian reports.
Infrastructure UK will group investment into the country's water, energy, waste, technology and transport infrastructure, merging two departments within the Treasury and a core team within Partnerships UK.
Working with a number of other Whitehall departments the body will prioritise schemes for the next 50 years and plan new funding models to build the hundreds of billions of pounds worth of projects.
The announcement comes as the GMB called for a suspension on the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) after claiming that taxpayers were 'locked' into £250bn of payments on hundreds of projects.
The public -sector union GMB said there were 641 PFI projects, with 100 more in the pipeline hitting the public purse with payments worth four times the value of the assets.
GMB national officer Brian Strutton told the guardian: "The public is paying over the odds on PFI projects, with debt ratios in most areas at over 500%. This is like paying for schools and hospitals by credit card.
"Exorbitant costs are creating a PFI funding black hole of the £250bn that many hospital trusts and other public bodies are already finding impossible to fill. It's a bill for £8,400 for every taxpayer in the land."