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Resignation leaves PFI in limbo

DAWN PRIMAROLO's appointment as Paymaster General on Monday failed to end uncertainty about which minister will take charge of the Private Finance Initiative following Geoffrey Robinson's resignation before Christmas.

As NCE went to press, the Treasury was unable to confirm if Primarolo would step straight into Robinson's shoes, or whether the responsibility for PFI would be reallocated to one of her colleagues.

Robinson resigned before Christmas following press reports about his loans to Peter Mandelson, who also resigned from his post as Trade & Industry Secretary.

Primarolo's appointment is a promotion from her previous post as Financial Secretary where she was responsible for the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise.

Another candidate to take over Robinson's PFI responsibilities could be Chief Secretary to the Treasury Alan Milburn, who won plaudits for pushing through the first PFI hospital deals as a junior minister in the Department of Health.

Milburn came into the Treasury after his predecessor Stephen Byers was promoted to succeed Mandelson as Trade & Industry Secretary.

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