Tell us what you think

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Why do you want to see public services run for people not profit? Tell us your story here.

We'll use your comments to help make the case for public ownership - look out for your thoughts on our homepage!

Thanks for telling us what you think.

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Darren Woodiwiss replied on Permalink

You seem to be the only non partisan voice making this argument, the Greens are but they are political

Jimmy Barrie replied on Permalink

This should be the future for Britain , for the common tax paying Brit , not the crooked self centred out for what they can get MP'S . Keep them BRITISH . SAVE THE FAMILY SILVER

Dave Wilson replied on Permalink

I like We Own It's agenda to return public services and utilities to public ownership. These services should never have been sold off, and certainly not for the undervalued pittances they have been.

John Milne replied on Permalink

I draw your attention to the petition launched by Scottish Labour to keep the ferries serving the Western Isles of Scotland in public hands (

See also Brian Wilson's article in The Scotsman (28 November) Time for SNP to U-turn on ferries

Grace replied on Permalink

This government was elected by 24% of those eligible to vote, by 37% of those who did vote. That means that 63% of those who voted tried to get someone else in. Yet they think that they have a mandate to do whatever they want. They must be able to hear the protests, the cries to keep corporatocracy at bay, and yet we constantly hear of how they are hastening us down that slippery slope. There will be no coming back, if they have their way. We will be sold out to the highest bidder, and paying the prices for huge fat-cat salaries for greedy executives. The old ethic where business is about providing jobs, paying decent wages, and enhancing society for the people is long gone. They line their own pockets by keeping the poor poor. They cut jobs and cut corners, throw people on the scrap-heap and call it progress. The government sells off public assets, and negotiates trade agreements that will further drive us into a corporate nightmare, without hearing the public outcry. This is no longer Democracy. It is Megalomockracy.

Lesley Walton replied on Permalink

I am SO ANGRY! This bunch of crooks lied and lied and lied and lied in order to get elected and that is the ONLY reason they are in power. Their persistent lies convinced people that 'better the devil you know' and the 'economy is safe in our hands' What a sick joke! What they are proposing to do with regards to Royal Mail and RBS etc is nothing short of criminal - they are basically 'stealing' our money.

Rant over, now to a practical suggestion. Whilst probably most of the big companies, mainly the ones that award themselves obscene bonuses even - are perfectly satisfied (and relieved I expect) that the Tories are in power, I suspect that there may be some who might actually agree with our stance. Not too sure how you would find these out but it would certainly give us vital clout. And maybe if we can also identify some Tories who dont support these sell offs, especially at knock down prices.

Paul Dilon replied on Permalink

I am sure there has been some good public to private acquisitions but the way Europe's economy has gone for the last 10 years and with current social inequalities and climate change to think privatization is a fix it all, is not looking at the bigger picture. It maybe a cause of a many of our current problems.

When a politician talks of sustainability they should consider how unregulated profit gains affect this so called desire for sustainability. Setting time periods on contracts to Private contractors runs counter to the concept of long term sustainability. Politicians before blowing the trumpet for privatization should consider how has privatization affected unemployment rates, the national debt, employment laws, inflation and the disparities in property ownership of it's citizens.

The other problem with privatization is it´s ability to change the definition of those necessary elements for life into a monetary system. You thought water rates are bad, when water and air are traded on the stock market you know you have a serious problem waiting ahead of you.

Actually the more evident our resources diminish and the onslaught of climate change approaches it is understandable for some commentators to see privatization as a greed explosion before the great collapse. To assert change a fundamental revaluation of community, citizenship and government must be made that establishes a none monetary system that is self sustainable for the basic needs of the people and their environment. The private sector could have all the rest.

Maureen Stanley replied on Permalink

I support all that you stand for and have participated in your campaigns. I wonder though why there is not a campaign against "Right to Buy". Thatcher started this in the hope of more people voting Tory. The scheme has decimated our stock of social housing so that some people can make a large profit while others live in cramped conditions with no hope of a suitable home. I cannot believe that there is not more fuss about extending this right to tenants of housing associations.

Ceri replied on Permalink

Why do you think Canadians will not tolerate a private health service? They are sitting on the border and they see the nightmare of such a society. You get the wrong health insurance sold by some private scam company and you get ill then they don't validate it and you go bankrupt-just one example I came across among many form living there for sic years. We have to WAKE up we must STOP this privatization because if they get away with it we will have NOTHING left that made this country great after the war.

Carole Jones replied on Permalink

I am so utterly dismayed by the East Coast sell-off. Travelling from London to Edinburgh yesterday I had my first taste of the coming service: seats had been replace by basic commuter train seats with no headrest, fixed arms, and no pull down tables for the passenger behind to use. Having a tea was a precarious and dangerous business without that! Apparently these seats had come from some Northern line; other seats in the carriage were from First - they carried the logo, even though all the seats had been upholstered in the new bright red Virgin colour. Is this a move to a tiered payment system for different seats? Or is this a cheap bargain-bucket process of starting up the new service? Whichever, it is a depressing, demoralizing and disheartening beginning, already destroying standards and treating passengers with contempt. This was a perfectly stable and efficient service. I'm so angry I'm already planning alternative modes of travel for the future.

plinkyplonk replied on Permalink

I am so dismayed the the East Coast line has been sold off. Why? Everyone was happy with it and the Exchequer was making money from it.

James McCarthy replied on Permalink

Public services are more likely to be open and transparent than profit-driven ones. They are committed to the long term and the wider good; they can be flexible, imaginative and responsive; and they can be made to be accountable in ways that are often impossible in the private sector. There is a community of interest between staff and customer which is not present when a private body is given a public role.

plinkyplonk replied on Permalink

Where does one start? I live in a borough that practically invented outsourcing. That word masks "privatisation" so a lot of people don't twig. No-body knows who does what any longer. Our CT collection seems to involve firms at either end of the country as well as a department still at our (remote for the majority of people) council offices. The leader of the council when he thought up outsourcing everything is now the MP for the area.

Robbie Wilson replied on Permalink

Our public services should be in the hands of those who have their best interests at heart, not those who seek to syphon off taxpayers' money and impoverish the provision of these crucial services.

George Allon replied on Permalink

Hi. Thank you for a copy of your report which was presented a balanced view. The direct management of East Coast Rail has demonstrated that a public owned railway can operate efficiently and achieve high customer satisfaction feedback whilst making a considerable return on investment. With profits going back into the organisation to improve and enhance services their is a win win situation for the customers, the organisation and the customer. Outsourcing services usually involves the prime contractor or contract holder creaming off a management charge first and then using what is left to subcontract out the actual services. Rail franchising seems to do exactly the same by using the existing workforce to deliver the services whilst focusing on grinding down costs by reducing staff, asking subcontractors to deliver services for prices that barely cover their costs and selectively reducing levels of service. The whole situation does not make any logical sense other than to satisfy a Conservative Government's historic commitment to supporting it's financial backers and the elite group of wealthy selfish shareholders who retain the bulk of our countries wealth.

Leslie Allan replied on Permalink

Privatisation equals profit, pure and simple! Frequently this also means cutting corners, leading to a poorer, not better, service. I am appalled at this government's proposals for the health service, - privatisation by stealth! And take the railways. A glaring example of the government's hatred of anything in public hands is the East Coast Main Line. I am a frequent user of East Coast Trains, in my experience it is an efficient, clean and well run service, with pleasant and helpful staff. And it makes a very good profit! A profit which goes into the government's and, hence, our pockets. But the government says it must be privatised! Why? There is no good or valid reason for such action. It is sheer political dogma!

Sharon Sisson replied on Permalink

Public services belong to the public and should not be given to the private sector to exploit for profit. Privatisation is pushing up costs and lowering the services, we are very close to losing our NHS we must stop this before it is too late.

Bethany Tye replied on Permalink

The private sector runs services on the smallest possible budget, pays low wages and delivers poor quality for its users - although it has the money to provide a high standard of service, profit is more important. Public-run services pay fair wages, are run efficiently and offer good service quality to users, as profit isn't the overall aim - although many do make a healthy surplus, e.g. Directly Operated Railways ran the east coast mainline between 2009-2014 and made £16 million, whilst improving passenger satisfaction. Who could find fault with that? For some reason, its being reprivatized!

Marian Wingrove replied on Permalink

Public services can only be delivered more cheaply by the private sector if they cut wages and standards of service. In particular privatisation in the health and care sectors is to be deplored.

Judith Hodgson replied on Permalink

Services such as rail, transport, water, health services, education and energy supply are natural monopolies and should be owned by the public. The private sector will not and cannot provide the strategic services we need. We have seen private companies cynically milking every penny from us the public, failing to invest as we we need them to, loading their companies with debt so they are unable to invest appropriately, siting their head offices in tax havens so that they avoid paying their fair share of tax. The ultimate irony is we see foreign governments running our railways and energy sectors which makes a mockery of the oft repeated utterly wrong mantra that private is better. Worse still it seems that private companies are very happy to take the profits and milk the system, indulging in rent seeking behaviour but when the going gets tough they seek to socialise the losses, leaving the tax layer to pick up the bill when the going gets tough. These private companies are totally amoral and have no commitment to the Britain's well being and the common good.

Erebus replied on Permalink

Public sevices should belong to the public, and not allow shareholders to cream off money so those very services are denied vital money. All money generated through public services should remain within the service, so as to enhance that service, not lie behind brass plaques in the Cayman Islands.

jack johnson replied on Permalink

We Own It have produced'Beter in public hands'which explains why we need a Public Service Users Bill.

For me this blows out of the water the Thatcherite myth that public is bad and private is good.

Companies win contracts by cutting costs like workers pay and conditions,staff,the public service itself,

plus increased costs to users.All so they can make a profit for shareholders.

Labour must adopt and pursue the Public Service Users Bill or be condemned as Thatcherite still.

Simon Holdsworth replied on Permalink

We now have the ridiculous scenario where our public utilities (water / trains / electric etc) are owned by foreign companies. Our government pays money to them. These companies then use that money to reduce their profits in the UK (and reduce the tax take for the UK government) to prop up their companies in the home countries. Rather than paying them money just buy shares in those companies and take dividends or use their power to influence prices / salaries / dividend payments forcing them to keep the money in the UK. Simples.

Malcolm Wallace replied on Permalink

The financial case, along with improved efficiency of railway public ownership, has been accepted by a majority of the public. The real difficulty is that Labour's recent Forum came out in support of retaining the franchise model which most people consider a disaster. This has been reiterated by the Shadow Minister for the railways and is virtually certain to be reflected in Labour's Manifesto. The real challenge is how can we get Labour to have a clear policy of public ownership especially if it embraces a greater share of local and worker democracy?

Robert Ormerod replied on Permalink

I always remember Tony Benn explaining privatisation saying that it was just about the rich and powerful wanting to make profits. I work for local government which is currently being deliberately underfunded and cut back using the so called deficit as the excuse, in order to facilitate privatisation.

As with all privatisations the costs increase and the service suffers in order to pay the bosses and the shareholders.

brenda storey replied on Permalink

All this gov thinks about is privatisation public services ie rail nhs are all better in public hands without the need for messing around with them .if its not broke don't fix it and don't privatise

Leonie Mansell replied on Permalink

Privatisation of utilities and transport has not, as boasted/promised, made them more efficient. It has made them many times less efficient; no money is spent on infrastructure, the only consideration is how to screw the most money out of the public for the minimum level of service in order to enrich shareholders. I am particularly worried by the creeping privatisation of the NHS. I recommend nationwide showing of Ken Loach's excellent film "Spirit of 1945" which shows exactly how much we gained after WWII and have since lost!

Dave Powell replied on Permalink

My Dad worked for the Eastern Electricity Board from just after the 2nd World War until his retirement in 1983 and he saw his job as to provide a service to the public. The notion of customers, in order to attempt to keep their homes warm in winter, providing companies and their shareholders with huge profits epitomises the venality of the political parties of today.

Les Cheek replied on Permalink

I strongly agree that public services should be in public hands, it would be great if the government thought the same.

Eleanor Milton replied on Permalink

I believe all utilities + public amenities should be owned by + for the people!! Private companies should not have the right to hold the public to ransom making huge profits from what is ours by right! Our government should be taking control + putting them back where they belong RUN BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE!!! Give us back our Gas/Electric/Water/Buses/Trains/NHS!!!!

Pete Magee replied on Permalink

It seems to me that a visitor from another planet might wonder why something so fundamental to our existence, indeed something we are almost wholly composed of, is bought and sold for the monetary advantage of a select few.

The idea that somebody owns water is absurd.

Margaret Littlejohn replied on Permalink

Thank you so much for your work on keeping public services in public hands. The care system has been in increasing chaos since the NHS and Community Care Act' outsourcing, the point of which I never understood at all other than to provide care for the least money in the most shoddy (and as we have seen dangerous) manner. The railways are a disgrace with problems on every third journey I take and now dread taking. All I can see from privatisation is more money for fatcat chief executives and those who can afford to be shareholders and poor wages and training for workers along with bad services for the users. Keep public services public and claw back those that have gone into the hands of the greed fat cats who couldn't care less about the people they provide services for.

Carol Hills replied on Permalink

The basic means by which people need to live decently are being "quietly" eroded by this unelected quango of a government, through privatisation of services and the subsequent greed of those who strive to own and make money from. If taxes were paid fairly by those who can well afford them then there would be enough money to ensure vital services are owned and maintained BY the public FOR the public.

Shaolin Monkey replied on Permalink

Essential reading at a time when the media is either docile or complicit in the public being ripped off. Private companies with shareholders have shareholders to pay, therefore that money does not get re-invested in the service, therefore the service is unlikely to be as good. If people NEED it - keep it in public hands. If people WANT it - then private companies can have a look in. It's a no-brainer.

Oliver Charleston replied on Permalink

Public services belong to the People!

Do you ever get the feeling you've completely lost any say in how our public services are owned and run? Great names like British Rail, British Gas, British Telecom and, more recently, the Royal Mail and the NHS have joined a long roster of public services which have been privatised over the last thirty years. Is now not the time to consider taking essential public utilities used by you and yours back into public ownership? The Right will say public ownership is a wasteful, beauracratic nightmare. The Left are starting to say no, not so: public services in public hands means democratic accountability, public participation in major decision making affecting all of us and your taxes spent wisely to benefit you through reinvestment in the economy thus creating employment, universal prosperity and most of all, good value for money for everyone.

Imagine, if you will, the faceless corporate conglomerates, fatcats or the CEOs of any number of private firms running the railways, public healthcare, social security or even the very schools your children attend at a profit you will never see or enjoy.

This is happening today in 2014 and until we, the British people, start waking up to the loss of everything our forefathers sacrificed so much for in the Great Depression and subsequently the Second World War, will never be able to look our children and grandchildren in the eye and honestly say we didn't try to make a better future for all based on taking back our birthright from the avaricious clutches of those who would sell us short.

Let's stand shoulder-to-shoulder and say together: people over profit, public over private!

Sally Smith replied on Permalink

I pay about £500 a month in tax and National Insurance.

I expect all of that to be spent honestly on truly public services not for shareholders profits too.

jane replied on Permalink

In Scotland the water supply is still publicly funded-and long may it last.

Compared to England and Wales,there are no glaring inefficiencies,no share holders to mollify,no drive to force up charges.

We pay the water charges with our council tax and it works!

Ray Allott replied on Permalink

Public services are owned and paid for by the public through taxes and were set up for the benefit of the public at large, not private businesses for private profit.

We the public are all shareholders in our services and has such should have a vote as to whether they should be handed over to the vested interests of tory profiteers. This vote has never happened and as such should be considered as a flagrant misrepresentation of power by this coalition that should result in it's expulsion from office.

Sedley Bryden replied on Permalink

It's quite basic, really. Human beings have a few basic needs, but unlike our ancestors we cannot go out and cut down trees to provide heat, they all belong to someone else. Likewise the water we need for hydration. We cannot catch or grow our own food, the land, rivers all belong to people who will stop you from sustaining yourself and you family. Thus no one should profit from providing the basic necessities of human existence. We should all own the means of producing what we need.

C replied on Permalink

As public services become delivered by multiple providers under complex contractual arrangements, who do you hold accountable for poor performance or service failings? The risk is that challenge will be lost over under a cloak of 'client confidentiality'. Why does big business want to provide public services? Let's not kid ourselves that it is through some altruistic impulse. First and foremost it is because they see a healthy profit margin or opportunity for future expansion. Their accountability lies to their share holders, not to the public body and certainly not to the service user.

Brian McNeil replied on Permalink

A Public Service is one where the aim is to provide the best-possible service for the lowest cost.

A Business, regardless of what it may throw at you as a 'mission statement', exists to provide the bare-minimum service, for the maximum profit.

Look at every single thing sold-off since Thatcher's time. All of our services are worse, and we are paying much more for them.

christina sosseh replied on Permalink

I already pay income tax, national insurance, council tax, and VAT on virtually everything I buy. All these taxes are for public services, that does not mean they should be provided by private companies who only want to make a profit, there should be no profit in these type of services, if there is, it should go back into the service to make is sutainable. These services should be provided for peoples need and should be accessed equally by all. if people want a different type of service, fine they can pay for it.

OUR hospitals etc, which this government are giving away to private companies, are not theirs to give away, they belong to the people, we are the ones who have paid for them.

Mart 44 replied on Permalink

Privatised from the civil service to an American firm. Terms & conditions under constant threat. Redundancies EVERY quarter for the last 7 years. Compulsory redundancies at the same time as they hire (non unionised) new graduates. Work that was done for nothing now paid for in multi million pound contracts by the taxpayer, with all profits going OUT of the country. You are lied to and cheated by this privatisation

Jenny Hnriques replied on Permalink

Why should share holders or private companies benefit financially from public services? I think that services for the public should be in the hands of the public, and should not be based on any profit making enterprise.

You only have to look at what's happening to our utilities, rail services, care homes, etc to see what a messy free for all privatisation and competition has made of people's basic needs.

Brigitte Lechner replied on Permalink

I cannot see why state ownership of, say, the car industry or the steel industry, would be preferable to private ownership. That sort of nationalisation was ideologically driven, for sure. Private and profit-driven ownership of essential public services like clean water, education,energy, transport or health reproduces inequalities on a massive scale. There is no justification other than greed. Businesses make very liberal use of such services, directly or via their workforce. If they want the workforce adequately and equitably reproduced they should pay for it with higher taxes.

Robin Watts replied on Permalink

To my mind, it's simple. The utilities & services we all use, should not be required to generate income & profit for shareholders & consortia (who mostly aren't even in Britain, or have any interest in the service, or standards we experience). We should hold them in common, to service our needs, and ours alone. That requires them to be nationally owned

Andy replied on Permalink

It's simple.

- public services service the public.

- they exist as services to keep the country running: to facilitate people getting on with life.

- they therefore cannot be run for profit. If run for profit, the service is not run for the public, or the country, or to facilitate the daily life of the country. They are then run for profit: and therefore the core reason for the service is lost.

What comes from private business running private services? Everything you see now.

High prices

Low staff morale and no identification from the public of the importance of the jobs done by public services

Low standards of service

Major mistakes (deaths etc) with post-accident analyses done in the corporate style - no accountability

Endless business "bottom line" style rationalisation and justifications for lowering standards

Frankly, the inevitable end point is that the country descends into hell.

Nick Hawkes replied on Permalink

I would not like someone to have access to my testicles and access to a hammer and a perverse financial incentive. Same principles.

Jim Hutchon replied on Permalink

We pay taxes for clean water, public transport and heat and light, not for vanity projects in Afghanistan. These are the inalienable duties of Government. It cannot handover these duties so we have to pay twice for what we rightfully expect in a civilised society. These pillars of life are not to be bandied about for profits. They are too important.

John Dakin replied on Permalink

The point about public ownership is that services are owned by the people for the people--all the people; this ideal has been lost sight of by all three main parties since the Thatcher era; but it is an ideal which has been betrayed, most recently by the privatisation of the Royal Mail and of the NHS; neither of these were discussed at the last election: this is outrageous, yet the Coalition seem so far to have gotten away with it; nor am I convinced that privatisation lead to better services: quite the contrary: the performance of Atos and G4s are lamentable.


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