As the Minister knows, there has been much criticism and two major debates about public private partnerships, PPPs, in this House. Our parliamentary budget office has carried out an overview of PPPs in Ireland, asking that we address the pretty opaque nature and the lack of transparency in the whole area of PPPs. There is a difficulty in measuring true value for money down to the 2040s or 2060s. The overview made some specific proposals on water contracts and the multi-annual budget.
The UK started its private finance initiative (PFI) programme in 1990 and the total estimated value of its public private partnerships is approximately £32 billion, whereas in Ireland so far it is €2.3 billion. Over the existence of previous Governments and the current Government, we have been used to school bundles and other proposals on housing and critical infrastructure. The reason the Government turned in that direction is precisely because of the blanket bank guarantee, the crash and the decision to totally eviscerate capital spending in this country for a decade. This was a deplorable decision and nobody involved in it really should be in the House.