An open letter to Sir Keir Starmer on public ownership

23 September 2021

Dear Sir Keir Starmer,

In 2020 we asked all of the Labour leadership and deputy leadership candidates to sign the 10 We Own It pledges on public ownership. We were very happy that you signed up to those pledges.

In 2020 you also made your own pledge for ‘common ownership’ in which you said Public services should be in public hands, not making profits for shareholders. Support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water; end outsourcing in our NHS, local government and justice system.’ We were very happy to see that too. 

In your recent pamphlet for the Fabians, ‘The Road Ahead’, public or common ownership is not mentioned. We’re writing to ask for clarification on why this is the case, and to offer five reasons why public ownership of public services must continue to be a core policy for the Labour Party.

1. Public ownership is popular

In your pamphlet, you talk with conviction about the values that, for us, sit behind strong public services working for people not profit. It is encouraging to see you recognise that ‘The plan to strip back the state has come at immense cost to the social fabric of our neighbourhoods, our communities and our country.’ And to read that ‘Where Tory individualism decrees there is ‘no such thing as society’, we believe the opposite.’

Labour’s public ownership policies are an opportunity to prove what those values mean in practice, and we know that these policies resonate with people

  • 64% of us want the railways to be in public ownership
  • 69% want the Royal Mail in public ownership
  • 52% want energy in public ownership
  • 63% want water in public ownership
  • 84% want our NHS fully in public ownership
  • 55% want to see services run in-house by councils
  • 55% want buses in public ownership
  • 62% want prisons in public ownership
  • 64% want social care in public ownership

The evidence suggests that Labour’s public ownership policies were always popular and became even more so from 2017 to 2019. Direct surveys of voters from the 2019 election show that Brexit and leadership were the key issues influencing the way people voted, not party policies on public ownership. Support for public ownership is found across all age groups, regions, class, income, gender, and ethnicity. Even Conservative voters support public ownership of rail and water. Labour’s public ownership policies are an asset.

2. Public ownership can help Labour tackle key challenges

In your Fabians pamphlet you talk about how in government ‘A failure to actively shape and strengthen the economy means that vast potential is being wasted.’ You explain that ‘a Labour government would provide a level playing field, a skilled workforce and a modern infrastructure, from transport to public services.’ Public ownership can help to achieve these goals.

You highlight particular areas where Labour would take bold action.

  • On health, you rightly draw attention to how drastic government cuts have damaged our NHS. A key aspect of this story is that NHS money is also being wasted on private companies and their shareholders, both in the pandemic and more generally. As Labour has highlighted, £96 billion of NHS money has been spent on private providers in the past decade. Labour should claim its reputation as the party of the NHS by promising to reinstate our NHS as a fully public service after the pandemic. Again, our polling shows that 76% of voters support this
  • You talk in your pamphlet about education and the importance of social mobility. Strong public services working for people not profit will strengthen this as they boost and bolster our economy and society. It is great to hear you say that your parents ‘could never have afforded private education or private healthcare – but we never felt we needed it. That made it possible for me to follow my ambitions and have a family of my own.’ Universal, high quality public services across the board create more opportunities for everyone.
  • On energy, it is brilliant to see you promising that ‘We would get more offshore wind turbines built, powering our homes with clean energy.’ Currently, UK offshore wind is dominated by public and private companies from other countries like Denmark. We should be developing our own publicly owned offshore wind power. What’s more, public ownership of energy networks would save £3.7 billion a year, enough to buy 222 new offshore wind turbines.

3. Public ownership saves money

In your new ten principles you say ‘The economy should work for citizens and communities. It is not good enough to just surrender to market forces.’ You also ask in your pamphlet ‘Why when government departments are funded by taxpayer money are we so lax about ensuring that money is spent appropriately?’

For nearly forty years now, an ideological commitment to privatisation and outsourcing wherever possible has meant that the public is getting a bad deal.

Privatisation costs more because it means spending money on shareholder dividends and the higher cost of borrowing in the private sector (the government can borrow more cheaply). Creating artificial markets where they don’t belong also often creates wasteful fragmentation and duplication.

Where public ownership involves buying back assets, this does have a cost, but it pays for itself over a relatively short timeframe because we are acquiring assets and we stop wasting money on the costs mentioned above. 

Where public ownership involves taking contracts in house as they come up for renewal, there does not need to be a cost.

In both cases, we the public save money and this is a sensible decision from a financial point of view.

  • Public ownership of water would save £2.5 billion a year - investing this could reduce leakage levels by a third.
  • Public ownership of energy networks would save £3.7 billion a year - enough to buy 222 new offshore wind turbines.
  • Public ownership of rail would save £1 billion a year - enough to buy 100 miles of new railway track.
  • Public ownership of buses would save £506 million a year - enough to buy 1,356 new electric buses.
  • Public ownership of Royal Mail would save £171 million a year - enough to open 342 new Crown Post Offices with postbanks.
  • Public ownership of broadband would save £500 million a year - enough to pay for full fibre broadband for 6 million households.
  • Ending the internal market in the NHS would save at least £4.5 billion a year - enough to pay for extra staff - 72,000 nurses and 20,000 doctors.

We're wasting £13 billion on privatisation every year. That's £250 million every single week. These are statistics that Labour should be talking about.

4. Public ownership can give people more control

In your pamphlet you say ‘Labour in government would show that we take seriously people’s demands for more control. We will deliver social justice, stronger communities and unlock potential by unlocking power, wealth and opportunity across the United Kingdom. But we will not do that by decree – we will put power and control in the hands of the people, whether at work, in accessing public services, or over the decisions that affect their lives. Where the current Tory government has muddied the waters of transparency on the money it spends or the things it does, I want to make it easier to hold government to account.’

You also say ‘One of my burning desires is to rethink and improve our public services.’

All of this is brilliant to hear. In 2019, we responded to Labour’s consultation on democratic public ownership with a report ‘When We Own It: A model for public ownership in the 21st century’. In this report we looked at how we could make sure public ownership was efficient, effective, accountable, caring, green, innovative - and so successful that it couldn’t be dismantled in the future. We looked at governance structures that would give a voice to the people who use public services, workers, communities and civil society alongside democratically elected politicians. We looked at new public duties for the 21st century. You might find this report useful. Here is the 2 page summary and here is the full report.

5. Public ownership is a common sense policy

There are numerous examples of successful public ownership, in the UK, in Europe and around the world. Examples in the UK include, of course, the NHS (although it’s being privatised) but also Scottish Water, Reading Buses, Channel 4, Ordnance Survey, the Land Registry, the Met Office, the Royal Mint - and those railway lines that have been taken back into public ownership after failing in private hands. Most of these institutions turn a profit every year that gets reinvested back into better services.

Across Europe there are many examples showing how public ownership is the norm, from water in France, to energy in Germany, to the railway in Switzerland. In fact, the Transnational Institute shows that around the world, cities and communities are taking back control over public services.

We are arguing here for a mixed economy rather than the ideological extremism that insists the private sector must do everything. The majority of people in the UK don’t support this ideology; they believe in public services for people not profit and are frustrated by high rail fares and energy bills, cuts to bus services, polluted rivers - because these problems have a real impact on their everyday lives. Privatisation has failed to live up to its promises of lower prices and better services. Public services tend to be natural monopolies where there isn’t much of a consumer market. The private sector is good at many things - running public services isn’t one of those things.

I hope you will find these arguments useful and would love the opportunity to discuss them with you.

Cat Hobbs' signature

Cat Hobbs

Director - We Own It

Do you believe in public services for people not profit?

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Comments

Nick Walker replied on

I support public ownership

Lucy. Henery replied on

That why Thatcher privitised these services but it not working. The money is not for shareholders and CEO s. Nationalise it back to the way it was before and clause it to never happen again.

sylvia pacitti replied on

I agree wholeheartedly! It has been quoted a number of times that “each Prime Minister leaves OUR country in a worse state than when he/she comes into power” and that is certainly true that’s what is conch to happen when MR JOHNSON AND PARTY leave AT THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION!

Brenda replied on

I have always supported public ownership of ‘our’ utilities, the National Health Service and all our public Transport services.

Anonymous replied on

I heartily support public ownership and am more than concerned about the future of the NHS . Privatisation of the railways has been a disaster in places and the Post Office which was privatisesd thanks to Vince Cablle and the service has certainly deteriorated here .

Barbara Day replied on

I agree with everything you say but is the Labour party strong enough to achieve this or will it just be another self seeking government as was the Blair administration

Mark Garner replied on

I fear that Keir Starmer's statement on the topic at conference has now answered this question. He has clearly shifted his policy focus to ensuring public utilities operate in the interest of power/money not the public. 'Pragmatic' certainly - but his brand of pragmatism seems to stretch only to adopting policies which are in tune with the reigning Tory party.

Anne Wareing replied on

The Blair government scrapped the commitment to public ownership, shut hospitals and changed the way doctors and dentists were paid, meaning nearly half of dentists went private, depriving the poorest (for whom the Labour party was formed) of dental care. Doctors are unavailable for emergency appointments, so Casualty departments are overflowing. Keir Starmer is another Blair, having reneged on the 10 pledges he made when pushing for leadership. He also wants to take us back into the EU we didn't vote for, against the DEMOCRATIC decision of 17.4 million people and further destroying our FISHING INDUSTRY.

Gwylim Glyndwr ... replied on

These Utilities are basic civil right to live and should not be in hands of other countries and shareholders.

Steven Pearson replied on

Profits impair patient care.

Profits to the greedy mean less for the needy.

Profit is a 4 letter word.

David McLaren replied on

Public services must be run for the benefit of the public and not for the benefit of private enterprise and shareholders. The NHS, water, gas rail, and other utilities are natural monopolies which rightly belong in the public sector. Prisons, and probation also must return to public control as profit means less capital to run the services.

Linda Boys replied on

Please don't forget social care! It should be part of publicly owned nhs.

Paula Edwards replied on

As a retired Nurse I have seen the problems first hand created by the Torys last 10 years plus . Cutting budgets so wards have to close . Ect . We need a brave opposition to fight Johnson and his Corrupt party . But I’m sorry your leadership of the Labour Party is very weak also does not have the dream of a better equal life for working class people . Who are working long hours and still cannot feed their kids and pay their rent or bills . It’s food or rent . It seems you think every one unlucky enough to have to claim the starvation benefits off the Torys are scrounges and need long prison sentences . How about all your tax avoiding friends MPs who claim extravagant amounts of expenses on second and 3rd houses ect this is breaking the law . All services to the public should be publicly owned by the people for the people .

Patricia Lawlor replied on

Fully support this letter. Without doubt private ownership of public service does not work in the public interest, it only works for shareholders and pension funds or hedge funds abd often foreign owned ones at that!

Ian Barton replied on

Together with strong local democracy

Michael Galvin replied on

I endorse the open letter to Kier Starmer

William Hobson replied on

I support public ownership. As someone who voted for Keir Starmer as Labour Leader, I voted for his pledges - for the policies he promised to pursue. Not for someone who abandoned those pledges as soon as convenient.

Cathy Boyd replied on

I believe in people before profit always in health care. I support public ownership.

Jon Baird replied on

Public goods are not a profit proposition.

Sarah Balfour replied on

Public ownership of services is essential for strategic planning and delivery.

Debbie Reed replied on

We need public services to be run by the government for the good of the public, rather than for profit. Most of our services are totally unsuited to be operated by means of competition. What we're currently seeing in the energy industry demonstrates how important it is not to let the profit motive be the main factor considered by energy firms. I expect our government to protect us from fluctuations in price and supply, and nationalising energy would be an appropriate response to the present situation. Water and transport are two of many other sectors which should be managed by the government.

Patrick FitzSymons replied on

Vital services should be run by and for the people

Paul Mcgarry replied on

I back public ownership so that it doesn’t fall into the hands of private companies who are all about profit.

Alan Valentine replied on

Public ownership is a no brainer!

gillian haworth replied on

I support public ownership

Michele Paule replied on

I am a Labour member and councillor. Public ownership is central to public wellbeing and must be core policy.

Linda Gittens replied on

Sick of bail outs for failing companies and pay out to shareholders

Paul Jorgensen replied on

Enough is enough the vast majority are having to put up with poor service at high cost to the financial benefit of the greedy parasitic few.

Alex T replied on

Public ownership is vital to safeguarding our services against being plundered by private capital. The Labour Party should be fighting to ensure public ownership of these services, not encouraging selling them off.

Lynne Sanders replied on

Public ownership of essential utilities is a must. It saves money, and the government can be held directly accountable, which is much more democratic than utility companies (some foreign-owned) being accountable to their shareholders.

Lesley Wilson replied on

Public ownership is a common good for the many not the few.

G.A.Howkins replied on

Unfortunately, this letter might as well be addressed to Boris Johnson for all the good it will do as regards the present leader of the Labour Party. Keir Starmer would probably like to see the replacement of funding from the trade unions and the links with them weakened or ended. He would definitely want any idea of rightful common ownership of public services smashed. Having said that, the team at 'We Own It' are doing a great job to express what the mass of taxpayers actually believe, despite media and political misrepresentation.

judith Perera replied on

Absolutely agree with G.A Howkins. I left the Labour party immediately after Starmer was elected as it was more than clear the direction he would be taking.

Alec Elsden replied on

It's a no-brainer. Why are Labour dragging their heels about this?

Anonymous replied on

Public ownership of public services (or what should be public services) is vital for a healthy society. Private ownership automatically puts shareholders' wishes first - it shouldn't be that way.

Audrey Taylor replied on

We must have publicly owned, well funded services. If the pandemic has show us anything it is that profit for profits sake is counter to the well-being of the country as a whole. Time to put these back at the top of the agenda.

Ann Mackie replied on

Yes public ownership is so important especially in the NHS

Stephen Riggott replied on

I endorse the open letter to Kier Starmer, and totally agree with all the previous comments, wholeheartedly!!

Mike Bannister replied on

Private ownership of utilities is an offensive corruption of our democracy. It must be stopped by a truly Socialist Government.

Thomas Collett replied on

Lovely detailed account. Let's hope that the Labour leadership becomes more openly in favour of public ownership.

Dr Anthony R Vann replied on

I have followed privatisation since its inception. I always thought it was a bad idea - after all, why invest in a new enterpise when you can invest in a monopoly flogged off at a discount with guaranteed profits because of its essential nature (water, power, etc). No wonder the country is underinvested. Then flogged off the the highest - usually non-British - bidder. So much for "Sovereignty'! How many privatised Building Societies - turned into Banks - still exist ? Almost none. How much self-regulation has succeeded long term ? - virtually none. How many scandals have we had ?- endless. Deregulation gave us the Banking /Credit crisis, and Grenfell.

Enough - time to be sensible and work for the general good, not private gain.

Claire replied on

100% agreed with every comment on here. Starmer seems like another Tory in disguise of Labour.

Paul W Lang replied on

Industries and services critical to the running of the country should be in public ownership.

Anonymous replied on

We need publicly owned services not private companies lining their pockets with public money. We deserve better from our government but we won't get it while the Tories are in power. Come on Keir Starmer stand up for the working nan.

Kay Murphy replied on

We need fully-functioning, fully funded public services, otherwise BIG BUSINESS will ransom us until we have parted with everything we own, while the wealthy will syphon off their riches to tax havens.

WAKE UP AND SERVE THE COUNTRY - WE EXPECT YOU TO DO WHAT THE PUBLIC NEED AND EXPECT.

Mark replied on

Public services should be in public ownership.

Pat replied on

Such a shame Starmer was elected Labour leader. He has abandoned all of Labour’s policies and the pledges he made when he was running for Leader. Starmer, Rayner and Nandy have all abandoned true Labour.

Waheed replied on

I fully support public ownership is the way forward for the public, not privatisation.

Amanda Midgley replied on

You need to get your hands off our NHS and our Buses and everything else otherwise when you need them you won’t be able to use them

Alex Bevis replied on

Disappointed that Starmer has missed the opportunity here but across the political spectrum nobody appears to want to rock the boat and move this country forward in a way that we would like. Time the politicians took notice.

Janey Lansdell replied on

Public ownership was and remains the way to ensure services and care for us all

Jan Skelly replied on

It's essential that public organisations remain wholly owned by the public - unfortunately Keir Starmer will not be in agreement as he's the face of the right wing Labour party and nothing to actually do with anything left of centre or the wellbeing of the majority of the country.

John Plummer replied on

At least pledge to restore the concept of Public Service at the heart of our social agencies

Karen Sanders replied on

Strongly agree with everything in this letter and the comments here!

Robert William ... replied on

Saddly Starmer is a tory, no disguise needed.

Voted Labour all my life, 68 now but sadly, I can't support this imposter.

Gerald Harniman replied on

The continuing Covid-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated where the interests of greedy capitalist private providers lie, profits and shareholder dividends while providing inadequate service. The surveys quoted demonstrate the majority of the UK public are tired of enriching these same greedy capitalists, a thousand fold since Thatcher's privatisations changing millionaires into billionaires while out sourcing removes accountability and the development of the present government's 'chumocracy'.

Service means providing for a need not enriching unidentified shareholders, the NHS founded to provide health care at the point of need; water, gas, oil, coal national resources sold to the same greedy capitalists. No other country in Europe has sold its family silver with such zeal as the Conservatives and very few countries have as poor service from its government as the UK for the past 11 years, and increasingly over the past 42 since 1979.

Kath Chanler replied on

Wonderful but , as far as the NHS is concerned we need more . The Tories are far down the road of selling it off. Privatisation is spreading existentially & Keir Starmer is going to have to become as passionate about this as us (in a non barrister way!) Heart on sleeve at the Conference please !

oncoming storm replied on

Totally agree. Public ownership should be for the people all the time. NOT PRIVATISATION.

I endorse this open letter to our so called leader, Sir Keith Starmer, and ask him to prove to the people who support the Labour party, that he is a man of his word, and not just another follower of the AGENDA these governments want to put in place.

David Revill replied on

I couldn't agree more with the contents of Cat's letter and the importance of getting this message to the Labour leader. If the Labour Party will not push for public ownership, who will? My concern since the change of Labour leadership was that, as with the travesty of a "Labour" under Blair, it would become Conservatism Lite. Britain already, god help us, has a Conservative party; it doesn't need another. It needs a bold alternative, and public ownership has to be part of that vision.

Lynda Mannix replied on

I support public ownership in as many areas as is possible. Only by this will the government be called to account with our money. I am a retired teacher and I want a better life for our children whereby will have the benefits they deserve and not to be left out in the cold because they can't afford insurances which the government really want them to have. I dislike the way privatization is incorporated by stealth because the government don't want to be responsible for the NHS, Energy, decent housing and all the rest.

N Collins replied on

Starmer, by not emphasising, even ignoring, the importance of public ownership you are not representing the people who voted for you. It's continually being eroded. Stand up and fight for it!

Rosemary Bechler replied on

In an era of pandemics, we have to reverse 40 years of privatisation by stealth of our national health service. Only a public health response that is local with GPS and others caring for the people they know and combining their knowledge with local databases - can we make sure that tracking and tracing and isolation h and supporting in every way to enable isolation really works. We must fight against the corporate takeover, the crones capitalism with which the Tories reek and the lack of respect - in fact the willingness to crush - the very people who they urged us to clap fir as heroes. Labour so-called Opposition hasn’t even backed the call for a 15 prr cent rise in their salaries. Will Labour commit to redeeming public health - the NHS and de-privatising the UK’s social health system.

patricia allenby replied on

Privatisation must be stopped by this corrupt government. They have no right stealing and selling off OUR things, that is THEFT and they should be held accountable.

Cherie Spalding replied on

If Keir Starmer wants us to believe that he is for the workers he should make it part of the Labour party to get these Companies back into the hands of public

Mr Chris R Hartley replied on

Ignore the fond hope rhetoric from the far left (they are responsible for the obscene strength of the current Government.) Put simply, utilities should not be in private hands :they are monopolies. In spite of the reassuring Tory posters, the NHS is crumbling in their hands and the privatising vultures are catching the bits.

Stephen Ellis replied on

Privatisation is not working. Let's end it.

Mubbashshir Moh... replied on

I Endorse this

Dave Bowen replied on

Agree 100%. Starmer needs to stand for something more radical than just Tory-lite.

Maxine Smith replied on

We need public ownership to help solve many huge problems in the UK at the moment

Malcolm Judd replied on

Having worked in the private sector I know that upon winning a contract we looked at how we could increase profit, by cheaper materials, cutting corners, skipping doing things properly, using cheaper labour, under sizing fixings and pipework.

That would mean that money paid did not get spent on what was being purchased.

The same with the NHS, every private company siphons off money for high salaries, dividends, HO set ups where there is exactly the same admin staff as all the other companies.

David Gilmour replied on

The privateers are harvesting what is left of public assets.

Grace Jackman replied on

Well-run public ownership makes sense. Get the managers out of the NHS and let the people who know how to do the jobs organise the system.

The Post Office was left stranded once the asset-stripping was allowed and the profitablke sections sold off. Remember the little book that came out about Granny Smith which showed the difference in the corporate culture once managers and profiteering became the watchwords.

Keep flying the flag for a humane aporoach to the business of living.

JACQUELINE TUSZYNSKI replied on

I’ve written to Kier Starmer 3 times. He won’t listen.sadly he’s as bad as Boris.

Never felt as let down never voted Tory never will but feel I can’t vote for the Labour as it is now.

He’s just bull headed along with the right and centrists of the party. Or as I call them k**bh**ds

Patrick Altass replied on

10 First class reasons to show the way forward and hopefully one day, rid us of this dreadful government, if possible, for decades to come.

Lynn Nicholls replied on

Vital services should be run by and for the people.

Ian Ampleford replied on

A true democratic socialist dream is a true nationalised health system free a point of contact.

MRS Vivienne Ward replied on

Services for the people not for the private sector.

Lizzie Paxton replied on

I hope Keir Starmer will make good his omission and follow through on his promise on public ownership, as recently presented by Ed Milliband. I voted for Keir Starmer and hope not to be let down. He needs to lead strongly not leave it to the team - omissions are interpreted and misunderstood.

James Richard N... replied on

Privatisation makes profit for the rich, and little else. The economic books can only balanced through investment in infrastructure, education, and innovation, not short-term sell-off of public assests. Germany makes its own steel that goes into its own cars. This is investment, not sell-off. We, on the otherhand, no longer have a car industry nor a steel industry to talk of.

t murray replied on

Isn't this what used to be called a 'no brainer'?

Shena Butterworth replied on

Dear Sir Keir, Please read this letter and take it on board as your next brief. These policies are the reason so many people joined the Labour party recently. Not for Corbyn as a person but for the aims laid out in this letter. I fear you will lose the support, electoral and financial, of very many if you disenfranchise us from electing the party leader. You should glory in the fact that so many people were able to vote for you. Don't listen to those of your advisers who want to return to the bad old days.

Have confidence in youself, don't let the party drift back to trying to attract the haves, its the havenots who need you.

I have voted Labour since 1964, I have eleven grandchildren from two to twenty, I fear greatly for their futures if the privatisation of the country is not curbed and reversed.

John Woodland replied on

I support the Labour party and expect it to support me in my desire for public ownership of essential services. It is time that Keir Starmer put this at the forefront of his policy statements.

Lindsay Mclaughlin replied on

do you really want us to be like the US for healthcare, where only the well off can get high quality care, and the rest queue for days for whatever free care is available. where health insurance basically depends on not being really ill, when they can turn you down for not dying quickly enough? where people who thought they were safe because they had insurance found out that insurance is aimed at not having to pay out? we all use the NHS, pay for it, and need it. having been privatised several times at work, I can tell you it actually cost the council more to run a department through a greedy private company than it is to run it themselves. as we have seen, selling off utilities like water and energy have dropped us into the appalling situation we are now. for reasons of economy as well efficiency and control of prices, they should be publicly owned and run. anything else is inefficient and ends up costing more

Margaret Nelmes replied on

Private ownership of our public services means higher costs and poorer value for money than if they were run by government. It means making cuts to services that aren't profitable enough, such as public transport routes. It puts profits before people. When hospital cleaning was contracted out to private companies, superbugs spread rapidly to vulnerable patients because corners were cut. This government is further dismantling the NHS to pave the way for privatisation. We need a strong opposition to stand up to them and save our NHS, until recently the envy of the world for its efficiency, its value for money and its ethos, that everyone should have access to healthcare free at the point of delivery. Under a private healthcare system, those unable to afford insurance or those with insurers who won't pay for expensive treatments would be left to suffer and die.

Jacquice replied on

We have multiple “crises” - a genuine, non self interested & co-ordinated response is the ONLY way forward!

Please stand up for public ownership of our services!

Kathleen Armstrong replied on

I agree 100% with all comments made so far.

Ramzy El Korashy replied on

The economic success of the country is dependent on the ownership of the utilities and the NHS. Running under public ownership will need a lot of imagination to ensure that non profit organisations are not presided on by fat cats from the civil service or the private sector. Take an example the energy sector with hundreds of suppliers, hundreds of separate administrations and therefore hundreds of fat cats needing to be fed well. One public non profit making supplier with one set of directors is bound to be far more efficient than the Tory dream that has virtually destroyed the industrial base of this country due to an out and out war with the unions that destroyed all at the same time in stead of allowing the inefficient to die and let the market fill the gaps that were created.

Bernard Ralph replied on

The Tories sold off the family silver now it's time to take it back. Any profits made by these companies should be plough back in to the country.then people would play a little bit less tax.

Clare Russell replied on

public ownership is the right thing to do

Michael Phelan replied on

Although it is impossible, and it makes no sense, for the NHS to provide every one of its immense number of services from inhouse resources, we must resist the taking over by private, especially American-owned, companies, of NHS services purely for profit, with no advantage to either efficiency or economy, or benefit to the patient.

I was sent by my GP to two such organisations, one for muscular-skeletal problems and one to help me stave off type 2 Diabetes. Both were clearly under-funded, poorly organised and entirely dependent on the good will of some of their more able and dedicated staff, together with some useful literature (haphazardly available) to be of any use at all. It was clear to me that I that I was no longer in the hands of a serious, competent, vastly experienced, publicly owned and publucly accountable body. I was in a shifting world of fly-by-night business deals, focused on profits and only partially connected with medical outcones, on a tick-box, 'this will do' level. If a less well paid, lower-level'operative' can 'seem' to do the job, let him or her replace the fully-trained one with years of experience. All we to do is to be able to tick boxes. And make sure staff do just what they are told to do. Don't give them the opportuniy to develop an independent ethos which puts good medical service and the patient first. Keep changing staff and rotas to avoid the creation of a professional team which insists on professional values. Get rid of staff whenever possible, especially the more costly, experienced and better trained ones, with minds and standards of their own

Thus we have achieved a second-tier service for the ordinary man, woman and child. If you need anything, better, you'll have to pay for it. And, of course, using profits made from not providing a decent service to NHS patients, we can now offer you, silver, gold or even platinum levels of medical care at our prestige private clinics. And if anything goes wrong in one of the luxury sites, as can and does happen, we can always rely on the superior emergency resources and expertise of the NHS to bail us out.

This is the brave new world that the current Tory health bill is taking us to.

Resisting must be a top priority,

Michael Phelan

Yvonne Wilson replied on

I agree with all comments above. Public ownership is vital. Too much money going to line the pockets of those in the private sector. Scandalous!

Alan Twelftree replied on

Public ownership is an essential principle which the Labour Party has allowed to become a side issue. The NHS is the prime example of how this can work for the many rather than the few. Let’s start working from there

Alison replied on

Keir Starmer should honour the pledges he made when he stood to be leader of the Labour Party. He was elected on the basis of those pledges & needs to remember that.

Avis Hannon replied on

Totally agree that facilities should have never been privatised in the first place. Always someone looking to make an easy profit. Pity we have bred a population that only thinks this way. Being optimistic I really hope we can reverse this trend and make public amenities and the NHS publicity owned once again. The public pay for it so it should remain public and not for profit. Proof is in what is happening with everything and why everything on its knees.

Peter Spring replied on

Starmer needs to keep to his Leadership Pledge #5: Common Ownership https://keirstarmer.com/plans/10-pledges/ I'm comfortable with him reaching out to business, especially sustainable ones, as that's where the new jobs and wealth will be created, but a mixed economy with a foundation of publicly owned monopolies like rail, water, health, power supply, etc. creates the more stable long term infrastructure that business yearns for. Public servants also get better wages, decent working conditions and proper pensions than privatised employees tend to, as investor and CEO profits are often created by exploiting the workers and skimping on investment.

Andy pittaway replied on

It's our money so should be spent in a way we all agree with which means a fair share for everybody not a massive share for those at the top

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