Do you believe in public services for people not profit?

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Privatisation has failed - it’s a fringe, extreme ideology. Most of us believe public services should work for people not profit.
 
But how do we make sure public ownership is efficient, effective, accountable, caring, green, innovative - and so wildly successful that no future Margaret Thatcher can ever dismantle it?
 
Introducing a blueprint for 21st century public ownership...

 

 

Comments

john brown replied on

Great on ideas no detail. I worked for a large UK water company before and after privatisation. Before privatization there was a mad scramble to try to get the water companies into a state where somebody would buy them as a result of many decades of underinvestment. That was all in the wonderful public sector. In fact the water companies in the UK did not exist before 1973. When they were created they inherited a huge mess. The idea that local councils which are often corrupt as well as incompetent could run water and sewage facilities successfully is frankly laughable. The new water companies were constrained by the public sector borrowing requirements as they will be again. Almost from the day they were formed they were underfunded. It's shows a lack of any real understanding to cherry pick Paris as an example one of the largest cities in the world. Of course that's easy to run at a profit. Water companies in the UK are very tightly regulated. In fact Welsh Water is non profit because it went bankrupt as a private company!! Scottish water was never on the agenda for privatization as it runs at a huge loss (funded by the British taxpayer). Anyway the UK hasn't had a balance of payments surplus since 1985 so where will all the money come from to fund these renationalisations. We can print it worked out well in Venezuela.

Biba replied on

Hi John,

Thanks for your comments and I'm glad you enjoyed the report. Firstly, investment is necessary to get water off the ground, however, it is not the case that the current water system does not generate surplus. Currently profits go to shareholders and go to servicing the debt mountain that water companies have built up since privatisation was introduced.

Once we take water into public ownership we will still have to pay off the debt, but the interest on paying that debt is much lower for the state than it is for private companies so money will be saved here. Additionally, all the money going to shareholders will instead be reinvested back into the service to make it better. It is also estimated that every household will be able to pay £100 on average less a year for their bills after we bring water into public ownership as our water bills completely cover the cost of the water service. The FT reported on this a few years ago.

It's also important to note that councils would not be responsible for running water services. We still think that keeping regional water services is the best way forward.

Please read our sector page on water for more information on the current system and financial benefits of public ownership. Having water in public ownership would save us 2.3 billion a year.

Many thanks,

Biba

Sue Cottrell replied on

People have been massively disenfranchised in their local area both by privatisation & by everything going online. Before Thatcher you could walk to your Town Hall & ‘bang your fist on the counter’ regarding local health, education, planning or myriad other local issues. Also you could go to the gas or electricity company showroom, the local police station or the bank in the high street. Not so easy now with distant head offices & not knowing very often who’s ‘in charge’ any more, especially for the doubly disenfranchised who don’t have a computer (and there’s a hell of a lot out there).

David Dungate replied on

Nothing will change until all land is in public ownership and that means the end of the "Class system". The rich will never allow the end of their their route to privilege.

Mary Moore replied on

What an inspiring and wide ranging report with so many encouraging examples ( from Kerala to Reading) of what is possible with good will and inclusiveness!

Pete gorman replied on

Privatisation doesn't work, except for the private companies whose only interest is profit and keeping shareholders happy. They don't care about the consumer or customer, only how much they can make, if this means cutbacks services and reducing staffing levels, so be it as far as they are concerned, they say they are only interested in improving services etc. but they just want to fill their pockets, often at the taxpayers expense, bleeding us dry!!

Janet Marks replied on

I enjoyed watching your video and while I was watching it, I thought about how the NHS is being privatised - in private - right now! So your plans for shop-front venues where people could go to find out about their public services could work for the Health Service too. I'm very glad that you included aiming for better public transport so car-use can reduce.

Tony Papard replied on

While nationalization is appropriate for the utilities, the railways, the Post Office, the landline phone system, etc. all of which have national grids or networks best maintained centrally, there are many other forms of public ownership such as the worker and consumer cooperatives in former Yugoslavia. Also individual publicly owned companies and mutuals. Huge State monopolies are not required for many of these things, but a People's Bank operated by the State could help to keep taxes to a minimum.

yvonne lunde an... replied on

people are surprised when i mention that every Norwegian citizen = from the dustbinman to the King publishes his tax returns online

John Harwood replied on

What a great idea! Why not start a (38 Degrees) petition to bring about this transparency in the UK?

Tom Allen replied on

There are so many of the rich both people and companies who go out of their way to pay less tax than they should do it would be the biggest revelation this country has ever seen. So whilst they have the power publishing everyone’s tax on line would be something that I can’t see happening.

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