Sheffield PFI runs into trouble

PROBLEMS with new buildings, and poor cleaning and catering were among a host of teething problems faced by six schools in Sheffield rebuilt and maintained under the Private Finance Initiative.

Sheffield councillors met yesterday to consider a damning report listing problems with private contractor Interserve, which rebuilt the schools and took over maintenance and catering in a pound;60 million deal. Sheffield is negotiating compensation from Interserve and has already deducted pound;100,000 from its fees.

But schools rebuilt under PFI say it has benefits. Hugh Howe, head of Fir Vale secondary, said that, despite the problems, it had been worth it to see the school move from its Victorian and 1960s brick buildings into new accommodation.

Interserve refused to comment on the Sheffield PFI school report.

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