The tide is turning against privatisation

Majority support public ownership of services says new poll

August 5, 2013
3 min read

It is often claimed that handing over public services to private companies makes them more efficient, responsive and cheaper.

For the last three decades the services upon which we all rely have been gradually sold off to the highest bidder. From the water we drink to our precious National Health Service, almost everything we once owned together has either already been hived off to the private sector or is likely to be so.

Against this backdrop of privatisation, when even the Ordnance Survey Maps and our blood banks are at risk, a new campaign is joining the movement in favour of public ownership.

It seems that despite successive governments’ slavish devotion to privatisation the British public aren’t at all convinced. A poll released today by Survation, and commissioned by We Own It, shows that it’s by no means just the radical left who believe in the public ownership of our services. Four in five people think that there should be an in-house bid when a public service is put out to tender and 60% think that local and national government should run public services in the public sector as the default option.

The fact is that this polling reflects a widespread lack of trust in the private companies who are trying to run our services. People are sick of corners being cut by companies like G4S and firms like Serco putting patients safety at risk.

And while private companies are often failing to provide a decent service a number of publicly owned services are giving us genuine success stories.

The East Coast Mainline, which for years was a failing service run by successive private companies, is now owned by the state and improving customer satisfaction at the same time as paying millions of pounds of premiums into the government coffers. Similarly Scottish Water is publicly owned and doing very well. The water provider supplies 2.4 million households with drinking water while investing heavily in reducing leakage and cutting its operating costs meaning that the average household cost is the lowest in the UK.

Public services should be accountable to the people who use them, good employers for the people who work for them and provide top quality services to the people who need them.

The privatisation-as-usual era is coming to an end. The public is getting increasingly fed up of paying dividends to shareholders while the price of services goes up and the quality goes down. Time after time private companies have proved to be inefficient and expensive while publicly owned services are making a serious comeback.

From today the fightback against privatisation is stepping up a gear. We Own It is campaigning to put people at the heart of public services through a Public Service Users Bill.

You can join the campaign at www.weownit.org.uk @We_OwnIt


✹ Try our new pay-as-you-feel subscription — you choose how much to pay.

Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 24 May
On May 24th, we’ll be holding the third of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.

Our activism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit…
Reflecting on a year in the environmental and anti-racist movements, Plane Stupid activist, Ali Tamlit, calls for a renewed focus on the dangers of power and privilege and the means to overcome them.

West Yorkshire calls for devolution of politics
When communities feel that power is exercised by a remote elite, anger and alienation will grow. But genuine regional democracy offers a positive alternative, argue the Same Skies Collective

How to resist the exploitation of digital gig workers
For the first time in history, we have a mass migration of labour without an actual migration of workers. Mark Graham and Alex Wood explore the consequences

The Digital Liberties cross-party campaign
Access to the internet should be considered as vital as access to power and water writes Sophia Drakopoulou

#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part III: a discussion of power and privilege
In the final article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr gives a few pointers on how to be a good ally

Event: Take Back Control Croydon
Ken Loach, Dawn Foster & Soweto Kinch to speak in Croydon at the first event of a UK-wide series organised by The World Transformed and local activists

Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 19 April
On April 19th, we’ll be holding the second of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.

Changing our attitude to Climate Change
Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Technology spells out what we need to do to break through the inaction over climate change

Introducing Trump’s Inner Circle
Donald Trump’s key allies are as alarming as the man himself

#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part II: a discussion of power and privilege
In the second article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the silencing of black women and the flaws in safe spaces

Joint statement on George Osborne’s appointment to the Evening Standard
'We have come together to denounce this brazen conflict of interest and to champion the growing need for independent, truthful and representative media'

Confronting Brexit
Paul O’Connell and Michael Calderbank consider the conditions that led to the Brexit vote, and how the left in Britain should respond

On the right side of history: an interview with Mijente
Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Reyna Wences, co-founder of Mijente, a radical Latinx and Chincanx organising network

Disrupting the City of London Corporation elections
The City of London Corporation is one of the most secretive and least understood institutions in the world, writes Luke Walter

#AndABlackWomanAtThat: a discussion of power and privilege
In the first article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the oppression of her early life and how we must fight it, even in our own movement

Corbyn understands the needs of our communities
Ian Hodson reflects on the Copeland by-election and explains why Corbyn has the full support of The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union

Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 15 March
On 15 March, we’ll be holding the first of Red Pepper’s Race Section open editorial meetings.

Social Workers Without Borders
Jenny Nelson speaks to Lauren Wroe about a group combining activism and social work with refugees

Growing up married
Laura Nicholson interviews Dr Eylem Atakav about her new film, Growing Up Married, which tells the stories of Turkey’s child brides

The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari

Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next

Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace

Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill

Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility

Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports

From the frontlines
Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices

How can we make the left sexy?
Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed

In pictures: designing for change
Sana Iqbal, the designer behind the identity of The World Transformed festival and the accompanying cover of Red Pepper, talks about the importance of good design

Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
As well as protesting against Trump we have a lot of work to get on with here in the UK. Here's a list started by Platform


230