Privatisation destroys infrastructure

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BRITAIN’S infrastructure was reduced to complete meltdown over Christmas through a combination of high winds and heavy rainfall.

Not because of blinding snow storms, hurricane force winds or rainfall on a biblical scale, just the type of weather that occurs around this time every year and which was accurately forecast by the Met office weeks in advance.

Despite this the chaos caused was indeed Epic.

Electricity was cut off to over 300,000 homes over Christmas with 50,000 still without power on Boxing Day.

According to a spokesman from UK Power Networks it will ‘take until the end of the week to restore power supplies to the final pockets of customers in these areas’.

Train services throughout the country were cancelled due to power failures, flooding and trees falling on the line stranding hundreds of thousands of passengers.

While the rail and energy companies like to put this catastrophic failure of Britain’s infrastructure down to ‘acts of god’, the stark fact remains that these privatised industries have time and again proved that for them profit comes well and truly before everything else including providing the service to the public that they are paid for.

The railways are a case in point.

In the twenty years since rail privatisation broke up the nationalised and integrated rail network, thousands of frontline workers, from ticket staff right through to vital maintenance workers, have been axed in order to bring down operating costs for the rail companies and boost their profits.

All these cuts have taken place with little or no regard to running a safe railway system, only to safeguard the profits of the shareholders.

While train fares have rocketed through the roof, investment in railway infrastructure by these private companies has halved in the past five years.

This situation was described by Bob Crow, general secretary of the railworkers union (RMT) in a press release on the present collapse of the rail system, he wrote: ‘We have now had three major rail shut-downs in Scotland and other parts of Britain in the past few months due to adverse weather and that is unprecedented. As a matter of urgency the cuts to staffing on our tracks must be stopped and reversed and the massive backlog of maintenance and renewals addressed.

‘There is an estimated half a billion pounds of back-logged works on drainage and embankments alone and while the train companies are ripping off hundreds of millions in profits that truly exposes the travesty of privatisation.’

The same picture of vast profits at the expense of jobs and services exists in the gas and electricity industry.

Here the ‘Big Six’ private energy suppliers made five times as much profit in 2012 than they did three years ago on the backs of savage staff cuts and soaring bills for gas and electricity.

With masterly understatement, Ofgem admitted competition in the energy sector ‘is not working as well as it could’.

The giant energy company, Npower, just days ago announced that it was axing a further 1,500 staff as part of its plan to ‘improve’ services to the customer.

These privatised companies have cut staffing to the bone, driven prices up out of reach of working people and presided over a situation where the merest hint of inclement weather causes the entire infrastructure of the country to seize up.

The only thing that they will not allow to seize up is their profits, profits made out of misery for the rest of the population.

The only answer to this chaos is to renationalise all these industries, without compensation and under the control of the working class as part of a socialist, integrated, planned economy.

Only by taking profit out of these vital social enterprises can they be guaranteed from collapsing completely.

Additionally, those whose duty it is to rescue those hit by disaster, the firefighters, are under a huge attack to smash their pensions, close down their fire stations and privatise them!

Once again, the only answer to the madness of the privateers and their government is to renationalise, halt the cuts, and bring in a workers government and socialism.