Privatisation: People vs Politicians

There's a big gap between politicians and the rest of us when it comes to privatisation and outsourcing. We've graded the political parties out of three on a range of popular policies that would give us a say over our public services. Check out how party manifestos and promises compare to what the public wants. Want public services for people not profit? Join us now.

Click below to discover the gap between public opinion and party policies

PolicyPublic OpinionConservativesLabourLiberal DemocratsSNPPlaid CymruGreenDUPUKIP
NHS in public ownership84% No

The Conservative party general election manifesto makes no mention of their plans for the ownership for the NHS, it does contain a commitment to 'review the operation of the internal market'. 

Yes

Labour's general election manifesto states 'The next Labour government will reverse privatisation of our NHS and return our health service into expert public control. Labour will repeal the Health and Social Care Act that puts profits before patients, and make the NHS the preferred provider.'

No

The Liberal Democrat's general election manifesto, whilst pledging '£6 billion additional revenue' to be spent on NHS or care services, makes no mention of the involvement of private companies in the NHS or its ownership.

Yes

The SNP's general election manifesto contains a pledge to 'always vote to protect the health service in all parts of the UK from privatisation'

Partial

Plaid Cymru have in the past campaigned on a platform of opposing NHS privatisation. Their 2017 general election manifesto says they want 'an equal say when decisions are made which have major implications for devolved functions', with the aim of seeing our 'Public services free from the threat of privatisation by big international corporations.' 

Yes

The Green Party manifesto pledges to roll back the privatisation of the NHS, and ensure that all health and dental services are always publicly provided and funded.

No

The DUP general election manifesto expresses support for "a new model of health and social care", but there is no mention of public ownership of the NHS. A DUP policy report from 2016 announces plans to promote interaction between the health and social care system and the private sector.

Partial

The UKIP general election manifesto includes a pledge to  'end the use of PFI contracts within the NHS' and to 'keep the NHS free at the point of delivery', but makes no mention of their policy towards private companies running NHS services.

Energy in public ownership77% No

 Private companies currently provide our energy services. The Conservatives' general election manifesto does not promise to change this.

Yes

Labour's general election manifesto states they would support 'the creation of publicly owned, locally accountable energy companies and co-operatives to rival existing private energy suppliers, with at least one if every region',  and they will legislate 'to permit publicly owned local companies to purchase the regional grid infrastructure, and to ensure that national and regional grid infrastructure is brought into public ownership over time.

Partial

The Liberal Democrats' general election manifesto says it will encourage 'small-scale, community and local-authority renewable schemes' and 'encourage councils to develop community energy-saving projects and local electricity generation' 

No

The SNP's general election manifesto outlines a desire to to see 'bills reduced and fairness and transparency in the system', but makes no mention of their policy towards the ownership of the energy sector.

Partial

Plaid Cymru's general election manifesto contains a commitment to 'create a Welsh energy company, to use profit from Welsh resources to cut the cost of energy for Welsh consumers and shifting to decentralised and distributed networks' and a pledge to 'increase energy generation from renewables'

Yes

The Green Party manifesto promises to 'bring energy back into public ownership' as part of a wider pledge to campaign for public services run by the people, for the people.

No

The DUP general election manifesto states that problems concerning electricity supply can be solved by increasing "market integration", among other measures. There is no mention of public ownership of energy services.  

No

The UKIP general election manifesto states they would 'review the ownership and profits of British utilities' but makes no mention of their policy on public ownership.

Water in public ownership83% No

The Conservative General Election manifesto makes no mention of water as a public service. 

Yes

The Labour general election manifesto states they would 'replace our dysfunctional water system with a network of regional publicly-owned water companies.'

No

The Liberal Democrats' general election manifesto makes no mention of their policy towards ownership of water companies.

Yes

Water is already publicly owned in Scotland, through Scottish Water. The SNP's general election manifesto contains no policy to change this.

Yes

In Wales water is provided by a publicly owned not-for-profit organisation. The Plaid Cymru general election manifesto has no mention of a policy to change this.

Yes

The Green Party manifesto promises to 'bring water back into public ownership' as part of a wider pledge to campaign for public services run by the people, for the people.

Yes

Water is already publicly owned in Northern Ireland, through Northern Ireland Water. The DUP general election manifesto contains no policy to change this. 

No

The UKIP general election manifesto makes no mention of their policy on water and public ownership

Railways in public ownership76% No

The Conservatives' general election manifesto makes no mention of reversing their current policy of renewing contracts with private rail companies.

Yes

The Labour general election manifesto states they will 'bring our railways back into public ownership, as franchises expire or, in other cases, with franchise reviews or break clauses'. They say their transport policy 'will be built on the platform of Network Rail, which we will retain whole' and that they will 'ensure new rolling stock is publicly owned'.

Partial

The Liberal Democrats' general election manifesto says they 'will allow public sector bodies and mutual groups involving staff and passengers to bid for franchises' and that they will 'establish government-run companies to take over the running of Southern Rail and Govia Thameslink, with a long-term plan to find more effective and sustainable ways of managing these franchises involving greater powers for local government'. 

Partial

The SNP's general election manifesto states that they 'are already using new powers to ensure a public sector operator will be able to bid for a future rail contract'. These powers were transferred to Scotland with the 2016 Scotland Act.

No

Plaid Cymru's general election manifesto makes no mention of their policy towards ownership of the railways.

Yes

The Green Party manifesto promises to 'bring railways back into public ownership' as part of a wider pledge to campaign for public services run by the people, for the people.

Yes

Rail services are already run by a publicly owned provider in Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Railways. The DUP general election manifesto contains no policy to change this.

No

The UKIP general election manifesto has no mention of their position on public ownership of our railways.

Buses in public ownership50% No

The Conservative Party has recently pushed through the Bus Services Act 2017, which includes the controversial Clause 21 - a ban on local council-controlled bus services, despite opposition from the House of Lords.

Partial

Labour's general election manifesto includes 'extending the powers to re-regulate local bus services to all areas that want them,' and supporting 'the creation of municipal bus companies that are publicly run for passengers not profit. This will enable publicly owned bus services to exist alongside private services.

Partial

The Liberal Democrats' general election manifesto states they 'will give principal local authorities the power to run, commission and regulate the bus network in their area.' They will enable publicly run bus services, but not require it.

No

The SNP's general election manifesto makes no mention of their policy towards who provides bus services.

No

Plaid Cymru's general election manifesto does not mention public ownership of bus services. It does includes a pledge for 'expansion of the Traws Cymru bus network.' This network is currently funded by the Welsh government in part controlled by local authorities through tendering arrangements.

Partial

The Green Party manifesto promises to 'bring buses back into public ownership' as part of a wider pledge to campaign for public services run by the people, for the people. However, they clarify that they mean to re-regulate bus services rather than bring them into public ownership entirely.

Yes

Bus services are already run by a publicly owned provider in Northern Ireland, Translink. The DUP general election manifesto contains no policy to change this.

No

The UKIP general election manifesto states that they 'will provide start-up grants to support community bus operators using smaller and more efficient buses where commercial operators have cut essential services', but make no mention of bringing bus services into public ownership.

National assets in public ownership65%

YouGov polling shows 65% of people want to see the Royal Mail back in public ownership. The Royal Mail was one of our most high profile and profitable national assets, before it was sold off in 2013. National assets include things like council housing, student loans, Channel 4 and the land registry, as well as the Royal Mail. We've chosen the figure from the YouGov poll which referred to public opinion about public ownership of the Royal Mail as an indicator of public opinion on public ownership of all national assets. Of course for some national assets the support for public ownership may be higher.

No

The Conservatives' general election manifesto states that the party plan to continue selling off national assets, the same way they sold off the Royal Mail. 

Yes

Labour's general election manifesto does state that they will 'bring key utilities back into public ownership', including Royal Mail, and will 'keep the Land Registry in public hands'. They will also 'suspend the right-to-buy policy to protect affordable homes for local people'

Partial

The Liberal Democrats' general election manifesto says they would 'maintain Channel 4 in public ownership.' On council housing, 'they would also 'enable local authorities to... end the Right to Buy if they choose.' When last in government, the Liberal Democrats sold off the Royal Mail.

No

The SNP's general election manifesto makes no mention of their policy towards the ownership of our national assets like Royal Mail, Land Registry or Channel 4.

Partial

Plaid Cymru's general election manifesto does not mention public ownership of national assets such as the Land Registry, Channel 4 or the Royal Mail. It does however, include a plan to open a publicly-owned bank. It says 'we will also ensure that you can always have access to a local bank by opening a publicly-owned bank'.

Yes

The Green Party manifesto promises to 'bring the Royal Mail back into public ownership' as part of a wider pledge to campaign for public services run by the people, for the people. They also pledge to end the mass sell-off of council houses. The manifesto also includes a promise to use the publicly owned Royal Bank of Scotland to create a network of local people's banks.

No

The DUP general election manifesto makes no mention of their policy on the public ownership of national assets. 

No

The UKIP general election manifesto has no mention of their position on the ownership of our national assets

Social care in public ownership74% No

The Conservatives' general election manifesto includes a shake-up of the rules concerning how and when older people pay for social care, but does not mention public ownership of social services. 

Partial

Labour's general election manifesto states that they would 'act to ‘insource’ our public and local council services as preferred providers. The party has promised to set up a 'National Care Service' in England and increase social care budgets to improve the quality of care. Corbyn has pledged to bring failing care homes into public ownership. (They would also stop any privatisation of child protection.)

No

The Liberal Democrats' general election manifesto contains an ambition to integrate health and social care services, but makes no mention of who will run them.

Partial

Health and social care is integrated in Scotland under NHS Scotland. The SNP general election manifesto includes a pledge to 'always vote to protect the health service in all parts of the UK from privatisation'. It points out that 'around 77,000 people in Scotland enjoy access to a wide range of personal care services without charge'. However, there are still private companies providing care services in Scotland.

No

Plaid Cymru's general election manifesto makes no mention of their policy towards who runs social care services.

Yes

The Green Party manifesto promises to 'bring care work back into public ownership' as part of a wider pledge to campaign for public services run by the people, for the people.

No

The DUP general election manifesto expresses support for "a new model of health and social care". There is no mention of public ownership of social care services.   

No

The UKIP general election manifesto makes no mention of their policy on who will provide social care services.

Education in public ownership81%

YouGov polling shows 81% want to see schools in public ownership.

No

In the Conservatives' general election manifesto is a promise to increase funding for privately run and owned Academies and ‘Free Schools’, including through sponsorship by universities. 

Yes

Labour's general election manifesto says they 'will not waste money on inefficient free schools...' and they 'will also oppose any attempt to force schools to become academies.' They also pledge to 'abolish university tuition fees'. 

Yes

The Liberal Democrat's general election manifesto says they will 'rule out state-funded profit-making schools' and will 'make sure there is no more retrospective raising of [student loan interest] rates, or selling-off of loans to private companies'. They will also 'reverse all cuts to front-line school and college budgets, protecting per-pupil funding in real terms' and their manifesto includes a pledge to 'repeal the rule that all new state-funded schools must be free schools or academies.' 

Yes

The SNP general election manifesto states that they 'will not follow the Tories’ market driven education-reforms' and contains a commitment to 'guarantee the continuation of tuition free university education [in Scotland]'

Partial

Plaid Cymru's general election manifesto states they 'will ensure that our children are taught by the best teachers at well funded schools', and they 'believe that, in principle, education should be free for all and [they] will continue to work towards this aim'

Yes

The Green Party manifesto includes a promise to bring 'Free Schools' and Academies back under local authority control.

Partial

Academies do not exist in Northern Ireland, and the DUP general election manifesto contains no plans to change ownership of schools. It does, however, state support for "greater autonomy in decision making for schools”.

No

The UKIP general election manifesto makes no mention of their policy on education and public ownership.

Council services in public ownership55% No

The Conservatives' general election manifesto states that the party will continue to give contracts for council services to 'big contractors' as well as small to medium sized businesses. 

Partial

Labour's general election manifesto states they 'will act to "insource" our public and local council services as preferred providers.' They will require firms providing services to local or national government to keep to standards on 'paying their taxes, recognising trade unions, respecting workers’ rights and equal opportunities, protecting the environment, providing training... paying suppliers on time'.

Partial

The Liberal Democrats' general election manifesto says they would 'empower local councils and communities to run their own [childcare] services'

No

The SNP's general election manifesto makes no mention of their policy on the privatisation of council services.

Partial

Plaid Cymru's general election manifesto states they 'want to see powers over social security devolved to Wales. We would use those powers, for example, to ban private firms from carrying out benefits assessments for profit.'

Partial

The Green Party manifesto promises to increase funding for local authorities to enable them to provide good quality services. No mention of outsourcing contracts.

No

The DUP general election manifesto states that the party have reduced the number of councils in Northern Ireland from 26 to 11. There is no mention of publicly owned council services.

No

The UKIP general election manifesto has no mention of their policy towards public ownership of council services

If you are a political party representative and spot something in the scorecard that needs updating, please get in touch and we'll be happy to change it.