Highways England has responded to the chancellor’s abolition of PFI and PF2 by insisting that “financing is not a determining factor” for two flagship schemes previously earmarked for private finance.
In Monday’s Budget Philip Hammond said no further schemes would be funded through PFI or PF2.
The chancellor said the funding mechanism was neither delivering value for money nor sufficiently transferring risk to the private sector.
Highways England, which was handed a £30bn budget for 2020-25 as part of the Budget, had identified two of its major projects for PF2 funding: the £1.6bn A303 Stonehenge tunnel and the £6bn Lower Thames Crossing scheme.
In response to the chancellor’s statement, a Highways England spokesperson said the Treasury had “made it very clear they are still committed to these schemes and that their financing is not a determining factor in deciding whether they get delivered”.
Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan told CN in April he believed “PF2 has been well thought out and well argued”.
The roads boss argued that “there are about £400m successful PFIs in operation; PF2 is an improvement on PFI and seems to work well on roads”.
Highways England said it was continuing to engage with the industry regarding opportunities on both projects, despite the chancellor’s decision to axe PFI and PF2.
The spokesperson said: “We remain committed to talking to all those in the UK, European and international markets who are interested in helping us deliver them.
“These are flagship projects and remain large and complex, so we need the very best our supply chain can offer.”
They added that Highways England “was are working closely with government to progress them”.