Examination of Witnesses (Questions 180
WEDNESDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2002
180. But those underlying costs, the numbers
were broadly similar for the two. That £2 billion saving
did not actually exist when you just looked at the underlying
(Mr Callaghan) I cannot say that from my knowledge
of the summary of that, that I can tell you precisely what the
number was, but I can
181. Broadly speaking, am I correct in saying
(Mr Callaghan) I do not know the answer off the top
of my head.
182. So you can give us a little note on that,
because it is really rather important, because it appears from
the calculations that have been made available to us that the
difference between the public sector evaluation and the private
partnership is actually this social element that you have built
in, this figure that you have dredged up, that you say that you
use and nobody else does?
(Mr Callaghan) First of all, I am afraid I have to
reject the expression "dredged up". As I have said,
what we are doing
183. Carefully evaluated and produced by historical
(Mr Callaghan) We are using taxpayers' money to buy
benefits to taxpayers, and therefore
184. That is precisely why we are asking you
why, for example, you have not got a termination clause, but it
does not matter about termination, it only matters when it suits
(Mr Callaghan) We are buying benefits to taxpayers
with taxpayers' money. It is reasonable to take into account whether
oneand indeed it should be expected that we would take
into account whether one method of delivery gives better benefits
185. With respect, I want to ask you a very
simple question: this is obviously a highly complex document,
and we have a division, so I am supposed to suspend now; tell
me very simply: do you honestly think that you can actually get
the benefit with this highly complex, very, very complicated arrangement,
that you can actually get benefit for the taxpayer out of it,
when you must know that the people who are going to do well out
of it are the lawyers and the accountants?
(Mr Callaghan) Chairman, I have lived with this arrangement
for five years. I was in at the beginning of it, I am in at the
end of it. As a result of that experience, I am completely confident
that this will do what it says it is going to do.
Chairman: Gentlemen, you have been very helpful.
Thank you very much. We will have other things to say to you,
I think, but not this evening.