Headlines: July 28th, 2003

Projects run by five local authorities have been selected as eligible for a share of thirty-nine million pounds of public funding towards the cost of culture and leisure projects under the Private Finance Initiative. The five councils – Croydon, Liverpool, Rochdale, Rotherham and South Tyneside – will now have to make an outline business case to qualify for the money. Croydon’s plan is for the replacement of a branch library, a borough housebound service and music service to be provided in conjunction with a new community school. Liverpool wants to build a new central library and archive. Rochdale, meanwhile, is proposing new library and learning centres to be developed in conjunction with three new Joint Service Centres. Rotherham’s plan is for three community swimming pools linked to school sites and South Tyneside Council is planning a community theatre and swimming pool linked to the building of a new school.The Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said the Department of Culture Media and Sport’s PFI programme was already supporting sixteen culture and leisure schemes. DCMS has an allocation of a hundred and fifty million pounds of PFI credits for the current spending review period and the 39 million credits have been allocated on a provisional basis to the five projects that are regarded as having the highest priority.