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Milburn raises PFI profile

CHANCELLOR GORDON Brown last week put former health minister and new Chief Secretary to the Treasury Alan Milburn in charge of the Private Finance Initiative.

Milburn is widely credited as a the political driving force behind the first privately financed hospital projects and is expected to apply this knowledge to other areas of the PFI.

His responsibilities will also include procurement policy and the development of Departmental Investment strategies including the Capital Modernisation Fund.

He became a Treasury minister after his predecessor Stephen Byers replaced Peter Mandelson as Trade & Industry Secretary (News last week).

As Chief Secretary, Milburn is more senior than the PFI's former champion Geoffrey Robinson who resigned as Paymaster General just before Christmas to be replaced by Dawn Primarolo.

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