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Burgon demands answers on PFI prisons

SHADOW justice secretary Richard Burgon demanded answers from the Tories today over plans to build new prisons under private finance initiatives (PFI).

Responding to the announcement of a new PFI-funded prison in Leicestershire, Mr Burgon accused ministers of “obfuscating” over how 10,000 new prison places would be paid for, saying: “Now we know why.”

He said the Ministry of Justice had been “cut more than any other department.

“The flip side of cuts is a greater dependence on privatisation and outsourcing.”

Mr Burgon asked how many other prisons would be built under PFI and what the “additional cost to the public would be.”

He also asked whether Serco and G4S, currently under criminal investigation for overcharging the ministry, would be allowed to bid to run the new prisons.

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said the government was “exploring a range of other funding arrangements, including private finance” for funding four other prisons but no decision had yet been made.

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