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Partnerships and Pensions

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The article "Why public-private partnerships work" (2nd March 2008, Sunday Business Post) included a picture captioned  "West-Link Toll bridge: an example of a successful public-private partnership in action". Successful for  who? Certainly not for the users of the M50 who, for years, have paid through the nose to queue at the toll or for the taxpayer who has been obliged to pay hundreds of millions to terminate the partnership.

Continuing use of PPPs and provision of massive tax breaks to developers, especially in the health service, are very hard to justify when the Government is borrowing well over a billion euro a year to invest in the National Pension Reserve Fund for onward investment in thousands of overseas companies and funds. This fund, valued at €21.3 billion at end 2007, lost 1.8% in the last quarter of 2007 and has probably lost a multiple of that in the current quarter. 

Perhaps more disconcerting is the fact that as recently as December last, the NPRF was increasing its investments in emerging markets, property and private equity from 7% of the fund's overall value to 23% by end 2009. No doubt these declining markets will recover but, in the meantime, we will have given the NPRF billions of borrowed money for risky investments and simultaneously provided huge tax breaks to developers and handed over critical public infrastructure to PPPs. Why?

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This page contains a single entry by Brian published on March 7, 2008 12:35 PM.

Productivity of TDs was the previous entry in this blog.

From Trams to Chaos is the next entry in this blog.

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