Was the EU to blame for the switch to PFI? | Letters

Maastricht treaty limits on public spending may have fuelled private finance, argues Ted Watson. Plus other readers’ views on the controversial funding mechanism

George Monbiot (Opinion, 17 January) asserts that the PFI bosses fleeced us all. Twenty years ago there were exceptions. Oxfordshire county council and many other councils recognised its deceptive creative accounting and avoided using PFI.

Central government does not distinguish between irresponsible borrowing for revenue and responsible borrowing for capital. Both are in the public spending borrowing requirement (PSBR) which central government wished to present as low (a high PSBR leads to austerity to reduce it), so it restricted local government’s borrowing and used PFI to disguise its own borrowing.

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IMF lifts global growth forecast to 3.9%, saying momentum is building

Extreme weather, such as droughts in Australia, pose significant risk to growth, IMF warns

The International Monetary Fund has lifted its forecasts for global growth, saying momentum is building in global economic activity and Donald Trump’s tax cuts in the US are likely to stimulate activity further.

It says the growth momentum is expected to carry into 2018 and 2019, and it has revised upwards its global growth forecasts by 0.2 percentage points for both years, from 3.7% to 3.9%.

Related: Top 1% of Australians own more wealth than bottom 70% combined

Related: Technology will widen pay gap and hit women hardest – Davos report

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ADP acquires workforce management software startup WorkMarket

 Payroll provider ADP said it is acquiring WorkMarket, a startup that specializes in workforce management software that operates across a wide range of employees and contractors, for an undisclosed sum. The software aims to create a kind of unified interface for managing an extended workforce that can include a variety of workers with different employment status, from contractors and… Read More