The first story highlights the waste in the old Labour government. :
"A project to set up nine regional control centres for fire and rescue services in England was a "complete failure" and wasted £469m,"
Reading the pretty damning coverage it appears that this just shows an inability to project manage, whilst also a willingness to throw money at projects without giving them the proper consideration.
As it happens I can see why people thought it was a good idea, 9 regional control centres could be better placed to handle large scale problems. However it has turned into a colossal waste of money. I wonder if you add up all of the amounts that were wasted under the old Government just how much you would reach?
The second story highlights just some of the element of privatisation that was performed in the NHS under Labour and how costly this may have been:
The Department of Health says 22 trusts, which run 60 units, are facing spiralling costs running into billions."
At first glance this is also pretty damning. It's often been said that the Private Finance Initiatives were a bad idea and now the Department of Health is saying that the long term contracts that have been signed are putting 22 trusts in danger. The problem appears to be that costs are rising with inflation whilst the income is remaining stationary.
However, what's clear to me is that actually, the investment that was undertaken then was badly needed. Potentially it may have not been the most financially sound way of providing it, however our hospitals did need modernising, some still do. As such I am not going to say Labour were wrong to do this (wow, I rarely defend them) but maybe suggest that there may have been longer term cheaper alternatives - hindsight however is a wonderful thing. At the end of the day not all trusts involved with PFI's are experiencing difficulties, and I don't actually believe any of them are actually on the verge of financial meltdown.
That said, one of the passages in the BBC's report is:
"Professor John Appleby, chief economist at the King's Fund think-tank, believes renegotiation of the deals should be tried."