Council bosses silence rumours Sheffield taxpayers will continue to pay off Amey PFI deal "20 years after contract finishes"

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Sheffield City Council has quashed rumours that taxpayers will still be paying off a major highways contract 20 years after it ends.

Opposition councillors claimed a decision made by council officers would mean millions of pounds would continue being paid up to 2057, 20 years after the end of the Streets Ahead contract with Amey.

Amey staff at work

Amey staff at work

But council bosses hit back saying a final decision had still not been made and, if approved by the council's overview and scrutiny management committee on Monday, it would not see any changes to the PFI contract.

The council said the proposal was a "technical accounting change" which would see the council change how it repays internal finances and result in a £6 million saving next year - and similar savings in future years.

It said the money could then be spent to avoid further cuts in social care and extending the repayment term would not attract any increased charges.

Coun Olivia Blake, the council's deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: "This decision is completely separate. It's not to do with Amey or the PFI contract - it's to do with our own internal finances.

Coun Olivia Blake

Coun Olivia Blake

"The Green Party have got the wrong end of the stick."

Amey are responsible for the maintenance of roads, traffic lights, pavements, street trees and bridges in a £2.2 billion private finance initiative deal until 2037.

Green party councillor for the City ward Rob Murphy claimed the decision would mean an extra cost of around £40 million over the next 39 years and labelled the contract "our generation's version of the World Student Games" - but the council said that was the amount of money the "accounting change" would save.

Coun Murphy said: "Aside from the fact future generations have no say on this extra burden, it also assumes the lifetime of the road assets will be 40 years, despite complaints by residents that road surfaces are already breaking up.

“Not content with making our children pay for their mistakes, this Labour administration is now getting our grandchildren to pay too. Labour leaders should apologise for signing a deal we cannot afford, as they will be long gone by the time it is paid off.

"“The council is still paying off World Student Games infrastructure costs, despite Don Valley Stadium being demolished.

"Rather than clearing its debts before spending more, this Labour-run council has again decided to burden future generations with the pain from their poor decision making