This election has put public ownership on the agenda - six things we've learned

Ellen from the We Own It team with a public ownership poster

9 June 2017

We’ve been told that public ownership – of OUR railways, energy, water and Royal Mail - is somehow ‘unrealistic’. We’ve been told that drastic cuts – to OUR NHS, schools and council services – are for some reason ‘inevitable’. We don’t believe what we’re told anymore. 

Huge congratulations to the Labour Party for its big, brave, bold manifesto that has shifted the debate. Well done to the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats for having some great public ownership policies which should be celebrated. And as for the Green Party, well, we know you’ve been calling for public ownership for years - we salute you.

Here are six things we’ve learned in this election.

1) Public ownership of the railways is completely achievable

And wildly popular. Just bring the franchises in house as they come up for renewal. There's no need to pay any compensation to train companies - when the contracts end, the services are brought into public ownership. The East Coast line was run in public ownership from 2009 to 2014 and was a huge success. Read more in our manifesto.

2) So is public ownership of energy

Local public ownership is the answer – getting local authorities to set up their own energy supply companies to compete with the Big Six. This has already started to happen with Robin Hood Energy in Nottingham and Bristol Energy in Bristol. We would need to buy back the National Grid and distribution networks – but that would pay for itself in 10 years.

3) Public ownership of water needs to happen

Water company shareholders have been having a huge laugh at our expense – piling on debt, failing to invest but taking 12% in profits every year. In the last 15 years, 235 cities across the world have taken water into public ownership. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland water is already run for people not profit. Here's how we'd take our water back in England.

4) And we need to buy back the Royal Mail

Selling off our 500 year old Royal Mail was a terrible idea, and a terrible deal for the public. Our research shows it makes economic sense to buy it back. Here we are on Sky News explaining why. 

5) People believe in education as a public good

Young people are sick of being piled with debt to have an education. Getting rid of tuition fees is a hugely popular proposal that helped to get the vote out. And our polling shows 64% don't want student loans to be sold off.

6) Don't mess with the NHS

Our NHS is highly efficient and much loved. Theresa May's record on it didn't do her any favours. She supports plans to Slash, Trash and Privatise along with the recently revealed Naylor Report aka 'the biggest ever drive to sell off the assets of the NHS in its history'. 

When we look at the academic evidence, at the examples around the world, when we look inside our own hearts - we know that well-funded PUBLIC services make sense. This election has put public ownership on the table and we’re not going to let it be swept under the carpet. This is just the beginning.

Read more about public ownership in the We Own It manifesto.

Let's leave the last word to John McDonnell.

Ellen from the We Own It team with a public ownership poster

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