Golden potholes will be appearing all over the Island during the coming weeks. In order to highlight the public money windfall coming the way of the lucky private contractor who wins the council’s proposed PFI (private finance initiative) roads contract Island anti-cuts protesters will be filling in potholes with gold paint.
Alliance campaigners want to show residents that this is not the „free money? that Councillors Pugh and Brown repeatedly claim it to be. In reality the Island will be lumbered with a 25 year, multi-million pound „mortgage? that it does not need and can ill-afford to repay.
The government have already decided that the original grant figure was much too high. The figures speak for themselves. The IOW council?s Outline Business Case for the PFI, presented in August 2009, set the grant requirement at £399m.
The Department for Transport now says that grant will be £260m. That?s 34 per cent less than the original grant bid. Alliance spokesperson, Geoff Mason, said, “The key word here is „grant?.
Every struggling student in the country understands that a grant has to be repaid at some point – this is not free money, this is Island and national taxpayers? cash. “Add to this the fact that in a recent council press release Simon Butler, the IOW council officer dealing with this process, claims that the council “could deliver the full scope of (the) scheme to the new budget”, Islanders must ask „why on earth were the council intending to give an extra £139m to the lucky bidding winner??. That?s one big pot of gold!” The potholes of gold are being randomly painted with ordinary spray paint.
This process creates no new damage to the road surface, will not adversely reflect light to distract motorists and will help to draw attention to the scandal of the PFI millions at a time when our council say that they need to make savings.