THESE days, schools, hospitals, courts, prisons, and police stations are leased from private companies at enormous expense to the taxpayer.

These leaseback arrangements now swallow up gigantic amounts of taxpayers’ money and are very wasteful.

Why are we doing this?

There are cases where the taxpayer has been paying £2.5m annually to lease a piece of equipment in an NHS hospital which has a book value of £750,000.

Four months rental would buy the equipment.

This is often equipment the NHS owned at one time anyway.

The NHS bears the cost of staffing and running costs too. So, what are we exactly paying these PFI companies for?

These contracts can be ended cheaply quickly and easily by act of parliament avoiding the penalty clauses in the original contracts and by bringing such buildings and equipment back into public ownership.

Compensation may be awarded (if we wish) by more reasonable terms set out in the act instead. This is how the NHS was first created in 1947.

Cllr Nigel Boddy, Darlington.