Letters


When two into one won't go

So, the article 'Collaborative Efforts' (September 19-25) establishes Tracie Evans as some kind of superwoman. Not only is she finance director of a local authority but now combines that role with that of FD of a primary care trust and, in her spare time, is deputy to the chief executive of both organisations. I make that four jobs wow!

I wonder what all of this means? There has been much recent comment about many local authorities demoting the top finance post from the 'top table'. Perhaps Evans' position encourages that? Also, what about all of these PCT finance directors who have, apparently, full-time roles and yet here we have one woman doing this part-time? Are the PCT FDs underemployed - 1 have many friends who are in this role so I wouldn't like to suggest that - or is the job not being done properly in Kingston? And also, as well as doing both of these jobs, we have the deputy CE role.

As a retired former NHS FD I just cannot get my mind around how I could possibly have done two FD jobs. Perhaps we could be advised.

One thing is clear. I agree with Vince Cable of the Liberal Democrats that the spend on public bureaucracies - not front-line services - is too high and, probably, out of control. So Kingston appears to have identified a way to make substantial savings, especially if this is applied across the board.

DAVID THOMAS

Bowness on Windermere, Cumbria

Time to pull the plug on the PFI

The Private Finance Initiative has been a source of continuing debate in PuMc Finance. In the past I have argued that the PFI has been a price worth paying to get new hospitals built.

But now the boot is on the other foot, might it not free up capital for our banks if the government bought back the extant PFI contracts - at a discount? Hospitals would be freed of the future burden, the banks could be bailed out and the government would come out of the episode smelling of roses.

Or is the world of high finance more complicated than that?

ROGER STEER

London SE5

Might it not free up capital for our banks if the government bought back the extant PFI contracts - at a discount?

Clarity needed on Crossrail funding figures

Douglas Oakervee, the chair of Cross London Rail Links, takes issue (On time and on track', September 26-October 2) with my article on the funding problems of Crossrail ('Journey's End', September 12-18).

While he outlines the scope of the project and its recent parliamentary progress, he does nothing to reassure its supporters about the funding situation. He says that the heads of terms were published in November and 'agreed by Crossrail's sponsors'.

But much water has passed under the bridge since then. Contributions from business are likely to be put under pressure by recent events and there are several items in the heads of agreement that are incomprehensible or, at best, dubious. …

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