THE COLLAPSES of Carillion, of East Coast Rail, of academy chain after academy chain, and now with the NAO report that private outsourcing giant Capita is ‘putting NHS patients at risk’, the Tory privatisation plague is clear for all to see. Yesterday, Unite warned that Capita may well be the next Carillion as the NHS faces a ‘Pandora’s Box of Carillion-type meltdowns’.
When Carillion collapsed, thousands turned up for work in the morning, only to find they had no job. Services like cleaning hospitals, cleaning schools, providing school meals for children were left stranded, and two hospitals which were under construction are to this day left half built. The £335 million Royal Liverpool Hospital is now an abandoned building site as is the Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Birmingham.
In the wake of the Carillion collapse, Serco took over 15 healthcare contracts at bargain basement prices in what has been described as a ‘fire sale’ of NHS services. Education is just as much under threat from privatisation as is healthcare.
Entire Academy chains are collapsing. ‘Failing’ schools are forced to become privately run academies. Smaller academies are swallowed up by bigger ones. Big academies are absorbed into academy chains. These chains then become so big they collapse. The schools are shut, teachers are sacked, pupils are left high and dry, while the academy bosses try to sneak out of the backdoor with millions of pounds of public funds in their pockets.
Wakefield City Academies Trust collapsed, dumping all 21 schools in the chain! It stood accused of ‘asset stripping’ after it transferred millions of pounds of the schools’ savings to its own accounts before collapsing.The crisis is not limited to health and education.
The privatised rail system is in utter chaos. On Wednesday, the Tories were forced to ‘temporarily’ renationalise the East Coast Railway after the private companies pulled out. The London to Edinburgh line has been run as a joint venture by privateers Stagecoach and Virgin since 2015. Both were subsidised to the tune of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.
Following Grayling’s announcement, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: ‘After three shambolic private sector failures on the East Coast, the message should now sink in that these cowboys cannot be trusted and should be locked out of the system on a permanent basis.’ Mick Whelan, Aslef general secretary, said: ‘Virgin and Stagecoach have managed reverse alchemy – by turning gold into base metal, and profits into losses on the east coast.’
The only response of Grayling was to tell MPs that Labour would not be able to renationalise because under the rule of the EU that would be illegal. All the more reason for getting out of the EU! The Tories are like a modern-day King Midas in reverse; every service they privatise collapses. They are actively trying to smash up all the post Second World War gains, and then warn workers that renationalisation will be illegal.
Private ownership cannot take society an inch forward. In fact, privatisation is driving society back to the Victorian era when there were no social housing, no social security, no healthcare, and no future for the working class and their children.
The NHS, council housing, the benefit system, nationalised transport system and free education from nursery to university were some of the great gains of the working class and drove society forwards. Social reforms were conceded by the ruling class, using colonial money, to stave off a post-war revolution that was looming in Britain.
After the collapse of the British Empire, the destruction of British industry, the banking crisis and with the UK economy in tatters the ruling class in Britain is trying to claw back every single gain the working class has made, making them pay for the crisis, through privatising the public services. Everything which the working class won through social reform, can now only be defended or restored through socialist revolution. Join the WRP, the only party that is preparing to lead this revolution!