Campaigners called for taxes on the rich to fund big infrastructure projects today after Chancellor George Osborne vowed to stick with the discredited private finance initiative (PFI).
Mr Osborne said that changes to the scheme will see the taxpayer take a minority shareholding in PFI companies to ensure a share in any profits and allow oversight.
A strict 18-month limit will be imposed on the procurement process, which has taken up to five years in the past.
And PFI contractors will face new transparency requirements including giving details of their profits.
But the announcement did little to dispel the fears of health workers who have seen a string of NHS trusts brought to their knees by PFI deals.
A spokeswoman for health union Unison said: "Despite these changes there are no guarantees that the taxpayer won't end up with a massive bill at the end of it."
Communist Party leader Robert Griffiths said: "Rather than using public money to guarantee super-profits for private investment the government should fund direct public investment from progressive taxation and, if necessary, low-interest borrowing."