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Ripped Off versus Value for Money
12:11pm - 28/09/2013

I have put my interview notes with the BBC Today programme used to support the announcement of the Public Accounts Committee on the download page.

 

It is good that the Public Accounts Committee have placed on record that Value For Money has not been secured by the BDUK Framework. At least Councils now have a licence to challenge and reject any charges which cannot be justified.

 

It was peculiar having a Minister describe your numbers as 'fag packet' on national radio when your only using National Audit Office numbers and expanding proportions identified in Table 11 on Page 33 of their report.  The only other numbers used were direct from BT's press releases.

 

While the BT's defence largely relied on repeating a comparison based on a 14% cost difference on a Cabinet (includes we assume plynth and power), which accounted for 36% of the total path cost,  they were unwilling to discuss the difference in subsidy when 100% of costs were outlined.  Once expanded the opportunity to bill for £47k per path on average is clear.  This contrasts with £14k per cabinet and path for a significant proportion of Northern Ireland.  Details in the download.

 

What next?  I am glad Minister Vaisey supported BT in the manner he did as it keeps the rollout moving.  I am equally glad Margaret Hodge described the contract as a 'rip off' as this opens the door for every Council to challenge every line of cost,  and permit these to be tested for reasonableness given the costs must qualify under state aid rules.  keeping the roll out moving while increasing the pressure on cost transparency is probably the best we can do at this moment in time.

 

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