The European Investment Bank, together with five of the UK's leading providers of equity and debt finance for projects in the rapidly expanding PFI/PPP market, is to join a Steering Group to assist the British Treasury in implementing the newly announced public private partnership, Partnerships UK.

EIB will work with Abbey National, Barclays Capital, Halifax, Prudential Portfolio Managers and the Royal Bank of Scotland as well as with HM Treasury to oversee development of the business case for Partnerships UK. This new institution will provide early stage advice and development funding to public sector sponsors of new UK PFI/PPP projects in all major sectors including local government, education, health, transport and information technology.

Sir Brian Unwin, Chairman and President of EIB said: "Setting up Partnerships UK is a positive move which fills a gap in the market. It will increase the flow of soundly structured PFI/PPP deals and complement the growing capacity of the private sector to provide finance for these schemes. The EIB, one of whose priorities is to promote the development of PFI/PPP projects in Europe, is very glad to support this important and innovative initiative by the British Government."

UK Public authorities will be able to call on Partnerships UK for expert advice and commitment as well as partnerships in developing their PFI/PPP projects. Partnerships UK will co-sponsor PFI/PPP projects from the very beginning providing skills and experience in designing and implementing these projects, making them more attractive to private sector operators and funders.

The EIB, the European Union's financing arm, is supporting the establishment of Partnerships UK as its objectives are in line with the EIB's policy to promote the development of PFI/PPP projects in Europe. The importance of PFI/PPPs in implementing projects in areas traditionally the responsibility of the public sector was re-emphasised at the recent Summit of EU Heads of State in Cologne in June 1999 which called on the Bank and the European Commission to examine the scope for increased use of mixed public-private financing in European infrastructure projects.