Government Indicates £260m For IW Highways PFI

Money for potholes and less than expected for highways PFI

The council had originally expected £364m for the highways PFI, but this has been reduced due to the Spending Review. This in from the council, in their own words. Ed

Loan To Ventnor Town Council QuestionedISLE OF WIGHT roads have been given a multi-million boost by two Government announcements.

The Department for Transport has indicated that the IW Council’s PFI scheme is to be given £260 million while a further £800,000 has been awarded to treat pot holes on the county’s highway network.

Both announcements have been welcomed by the IW Council which has been waiting since October to find out the value of PFI grant it is to receive.

The confirmation allows the authority to press ahead with the scheme that will be both the largest engineering project ever undertaken on the Island and also the most valuable contract ever procured by the local authority.

Virtually all roads resurfaced
Under the PFI scheme virtually all the Island’s 800 km of roads will be resurfaced and rebuilt where necessary; footways pavements, designated cycle routes, grass verges, CCTV networks, streetlights and street furniture upgraded, street lighting replaced with efficient LED lighting and upgraded roads maintained over the 25-year-life of the project.

In addition, the PFI service provider will take on the statutory role of the highway authority and operate the road network over this period.

Money for potholes
The money for pothole repair is greater than expected and will make a major contribution to patching up the Island’s highways until the PFI provides a longer-term solution when construction starts in the spring of 2013.

The council has known since the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review in October that the amount of Government PFI grant would have to be scaled back and has been working with the three companies who are bidding to become partners in the scheme on the basis of the funding reduction as indicated today.

Latitude for efficiency savings
The council said it could deliver the full scope of scheme to the new budget.

This is largely because the scale project is so huge there is much latitude in which to make efficiency savings. Changes to the timing in which money is released by Government will also result in savings without altering the scope of work.

“The primary aim of the Highways PFI has always been to bring our highway network up to an acceptable standards and that is what we will achieve,” said Cllr Edward Giles, IW Council cabinet member responsible for transport.

“What this announcement means is that we can move forward in developing a scheme that makes best use of the money and brings maximum benefit to all those who use the Island’s road network, footways and cycleways.

“Such massive inward investment to allow an engineering project of this size will also bring many other real and substantial benefits to the Island in terms of training, employment and commercial opportunities for Island businesses and suppliers. The cumulative value of these benefits will be many times the value of the actual PFI grant.

“In such a difficult economic climate the Island is fortunate to have been able to secure such a huge sum for a project of such importance.”

“Free grant” – no repayment required
Because the Government grant – is a free grant, the council does not have to repay this. With the council maintaining its own contribution for passing on the maintenance and statutory responsibilities, the total investment on the Island’s roads is nearer £0.8bn.

The council’s contribution is essentially the same amount already spent by the authority in the areas to be covered by the PFI but because this will be done under one single new contract, the authority can secure greater value for money from the money it spends.

Stuart Love, IW Council strategic director for economy and environment, said: “This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Island that will bring significant benefits to the Island’s economy over and above the obvious infrastructure improvements.

“The PFI not only represents the only mechanism by which we can secure the huge investment necessary to bring the roads up to the standards residents rightly expect, it will also deliver innovation and improvements in areas such as public lighting and carbon and water management. This really is excellent news for anyone who wants to see a long-term and sustainable approach to improving and maintaining our highways network.”

Image: Howard Lake under CC BY 2.0

Thursday, 24th March, 2011 1:14pm



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Roads

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30 Comments on "Government Indicates £260m For IW Highways PFI"

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So, they expected £364million and only got £260million, and thats a “victory”?? Further down the trumpeted £1billion investment has suddenly shrunk to £0.8Billion, somewhere in there a further £100 million has gone missing. How about some real figures, including the annual inreases tied to inflation? Its time this council actually told us the truth rather than a mish-mash of lies and half truths.

Wight Knight

Better that than nothing at all. Many road schemes were scrapped altogether!

If this PFI scheme is so great, why have Portsmouth City Council felt the need to re-negotiate the contract they signed with a French company? This looks good on paper although it’s jus a load of propaganda to try and convince us it will benefit the island. If it is such a good deal, then surely many other councils would also be rushing to sign up to… Read more »

Hi Asite2c, its me again, I have emailed Portsmouth City Council and asked them to put me in touch with some who will discuss their PFI problems wih me! Just as a back up I’ve also contacted Mike Hancock MP and asked him he same. I’m not holding my breath but just maybe…….

Jane K
This “the total investment on the Island’s roads is nearer £0.8bn” is so misleading – deliberately or otherwise. That money is not being invested in Island Roads at all. It is going to the Off-Island organisation that wins the PFI contract which will includes a bank to finance the scheme, a construction company to carry out the work (some parts of which might come to Island people)… Read more »

how can they get away with stateing the absolute lie that this is a free grant…its costing us £12 million a year for 20 years.

Lets see the council publish the figures it has spent on road maintanance year on year for the last 5 years….its nowhere near £12 million


When they are spending a vast amount of money like this,why not put some aside for training those that are willing.Then let the trained residents have first dibs at the jobs available.The CI do this then look elsewhere if a suitable resident cannot be found.


It is simply a ‘matched’ grant not a ‘free’ grant.

Every time they release a press statement it takes a huge amount of time trying to decipher what they are really saying. Why oh why can’t they just say it as it is. Their constant spin is so irritating.

‘Lying is not only saying what isn’t true. It is also, in fact especially, saying more than is true’

We need somebody that is clued up on the scheme that could decipher the figures and work out the real cost to the island over a period of 25 years. I bet the final sums would turn out to be way off the mark from those we are being told. If the IOW Council are so confident with this PFI scheme then instead of spinning the figures… Read more »
Steve Goodman

Here’s hoping that Mike Starke will continue to help the island; he seems to understand the PFI roads figures better than any of our councillors.

Loo Loo

It would be very revealing if somebody from Portsmouth in the know about this PFI scheme could contact VB or send in a comment about how it is is working there.

allan marsh

I think tthe councilors who think this is such a good idea should be prepared to undewrite the scheme and any overspend to be paid for by themselves then we would see how they feel

Steve Goodman
So many questions prompted… A few for now: 1. Are our cycle routes really now included again, having been quietly dropped within the last year? If so, I’m glad we made a fuss about it, and I’ll bring a bottle & lots of happy bikers to the eventual opening of the long delayed Newport link. (shame the floating bridge remains sunk, though). 2.Interesting to read that the… Read more »
Mike Starke
I’m still blushing from Steve Goodman’s comments, or is it that I’m red with rage over the County Hall spinsters’ latest attempt to hoodwink us about the wretched PFI. Let’s not forget these facts: The PFI bid started in 2006 with an estimate of £325m for the “grant” element (that’s the cash that goes straight to the PFI contractor, not to IW Council). Then Jay Jayasundara came… Read more »
Miss Victoria Meldrew

I don’t care who fixes them or at what cost – just fix the b** roads !

Whilst IWC are at it perhaps they could repaint the lane / town markings on the road at Coppins Bridge. There’s an accident waiting to happen…

Steve Goodman
(Just in case this was sent with serious intent..) We probably all agree that the roads need to be maintained…. however – Most of us would like our money used responsibly, meaning that we shouldn’t be aware of wasteful temporary fixes (e.g. one hole filled 3 times in less than a month, or a long stretch resurfaced without the required drainage – guess what’s going to need… Read more »
out of touch theconmag

Mike you should know this particular bunch of Conservative Councillors are very thick so it isn’t any surprise to me that they will continue with this disastrous P.F.I.scheme.All I can suggest is you go for a relaxing ride on your bike but be careful of the potholes.


From reading the comments about this topic, it seems yet again the council leaders are treating the island people as idiots by thinking we are too thick to see through their spin and lies. Is it any wonder there is very little confidence in councillors and politicians while they continually try to sell us ridiculous short sighted policies?

I believe that is £260m on top of the IWC’s contribution of £8.3m per year (or some such. Differing figures keep emerging). This is for 25 years, or, put another way, 260 + (8.3 x 25) = £467. The IWC contribution is based on what they have been ‘paying annually on road maintenance for the last ten years’ – but they haven’t. In fact, they have spent… Read more »

I meant Philippe Starck but I was all in a lather. It’s OK, I’ve calmed down now.

Math Boy

If the total investment is £800m as reported in today’s CP and earlier comments here; £260m is from Government that leaves £540m from us over 25 years that equates to over £21.5m per year! who is paying that???

If your figures are correct then signing up to this PFI scheme has got to be sheer madness. If it goes ahead as likely, the island will probably be facing even deeper cuts in the future. Sadly the council will have no other choice but to pay the millions of pounds due each year for the next quarter of a century, this is even before any spending… Read more »
retired hack
This is one bit which concerns me. It looks like a throwaway line but I think it might not be. “In addition, the PFI service provider will take on the statutory role of the highway authority and operate the road network over this period.” What does this mean? Does it mean the Council highways dept will shut up shop, and that the PFI contractor will run the… Read more »

Do you think this misbeggotten shower will tell you anything that approaches the truth? The old line springs to mind “pretend their mushrooms, keep em in the dark and feed em b**ls**t”

witchfinder general
Have I missed something? I know that it is down to central government to dole out the money for the upkeep of our roads and the local council has to use the cash to the best advantage. But havn’t we already paid for the upkeep through paying road tax. Now as I understand it we are going to be asked to pay again through increases in council… Read more »
Mr Justice
Well spotted. Yes, we did and do pay a fortune to maintain the roads through car purchase tax, VAT, fuel tax, road fund licences etc, but all Governments choose to spend most of this revenue on other things. The roads have always been a soft target for other priorities and that is exactly why so many Islanders are seriously concerned that the council PFI scheme will be… Read more »
out of touch theconmag

For a good unbiased report on the Islands P.F.I. read this weeks County Press .Can someone tell me why it’s called the Tory Rag I don’t understand.

Jane K

Thanks for putting a smile on my face.

Can anyone clarify whether car tax is used only to fund highway agency managed roads eg the national motorway network, from which the island receives little benefit (unless you count those arriving at Southampton or portsmouth to catch a ferry). If this is the case, surely the island should be able to get some road tax contributions back to maintain our main arterial roads which serve the… Read more »
Steve Goodman
Clarification: car tax (vehicle excise duty) is not used exclusively for anything to do with roads. Just like the tax raised from car fuel, cars sales, and every vehicle-related taxation I can bring to mind, it goes into the income pot, to be spent on whatever the government decides, such as tax breaks to big business, failed bank bail-outs, MP’s expense fiddles, & all the other good… Read more »