No 2029 Posted by fw, August 13, 2017
“Back in March 2016 I wrote a piece for the European Financial Review entitled Mass privatisation masks Britain’s failed economic policies which tells the story about how the Chancellor at the time, George Osborne, was selling off state assets at an unprecedented rate to shore up a failing economic plan. The plan entailed reaching a target of £60 billion of state asset sales by year end 2016. The target was then extended so by the end of this parliament in 2020, that total will have reached a staggering £100 billion,” —Graham Vanbergen, True Publica
This post dovetails nicely with the preceding post, Ten years after the 2008 financial crash, the cost to Britain is running into £ trillions. Little wonder that the Tories are strapped for cash.
Among the public assets already privatized by the Tories: Britain’s blood plasma facility; first major hospital in Britain; ambulance service; fire service; Met Office; Ordinance Survey; Nuclear fuel processor; Land Registry; Channel 4’ The Royal Mint; and the national forensic service.
Next on the chopping block, the Tories are about to outsource the work of Bailiffs who collect court fines. Apparently, there’s money to be made on the backs of the poor, and privatized Bailiffs will squeeze them to pay up.
Think privatization of public assets couldn’t happen in Canada? Think again. Read my November 2016 post: Wake up Canada: Trudeau’s Infrastructure Bank will be a “long run theft of public dollars”, says U Waterloo prof . Assistant Political Science Prof Heather Whiteside, shreds Trudeau’s Canada Infrastructure Bank, referring to it critically as – ‘theft’, ‘deception’, ‘shelf game’, ‘game show’, ‘asset grabs’, and ‘giveaways’.
And consider this. A June 2017 report of a survey by the Ontario Health Coalition concluded:
“In the majority of provinces, patients are now faced with an array of charges amounting to hundreds or even thousands of dollars when they go to private clinics for diagnosis or treatment. Private clinics are threatening public medicare in Canada and the laws that protect patients are not being enforced. Health Coalitions across the country are calling on our governments to take action to safeguard single-tier public health care for all Canadians.”
Below is a repost of Graham Vanbergen’s article in True Publica, with my added subheadings. Or read the original piece on Publica’s website by clicking on the following linked title.
Britain’s Conservative government selling off state assets to support failed economic plan
Back in March 2016 I wrote a piece for the European Financial Review entitled Mass privatisation masks Britain’s failed economic policies which tells the story about how the Chancellor at the time, George Osborne, was selling off state assets at an unprecedented rate to shore up a failing economic plan.
Government refuses to respond to Freedom of Information requests on the sales
The plan entailed reaching a target of £60 billion of state asset sales by year end 2016. The target was then extended so by the end of this parliament in 2020, that total will have reached a staggering £100 billion, (not including buildings or land, because the government refuses to respond to FoI requests on such sales) – more than Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown combined.
US private equity company that bought blood plasma facility, resold it 3 years later for £600 million profit
I cited the disastrous sale of Britain’s blood plasma facility to a US private equity outfit. Britain’s self-sufficiency for blood and blood products vanished over-night and with it the safeguards most other countries around the world never enjoyed. The American company that bought it, has just sold it on again to a Chinese outfit and trousered nearly £600 million in just three years of ownership. Forget the health implications for Britain. Makes you wonder where all our generously and freely donated blood of 6,000 pints a day will end up.
Privatization of health and safety public assets are failing, putting public health at risk as profit trumps saving lives
I also mentioned the calamitous privatisation of the first major hospital in Britain. That failed due to profit concerns and ultimately patient safety – what more could have gone wrong? I mentioned the state of Britain’s ambulance service and the lamentable finances of the fire service and threats to public health because profit is now the primary driver, not saving lives.
Other top-performing assets have been sold off, including The Royal Mint
I then rambled on about non-critical but highly successful organisations that contribute to the public purse being sold off such as; the Met Office, Ordinance Survey, Nuclear fuel processor Urenco, Land Registry, Channel 4, The Royal Mint, the list goes on.
Good Grief, Charlie Brown, they even privatized forensic services, as profit trumps justice
Then there was another scandal, that of selling of the national forensic service. The National Audit Office had warned that the “privatization of forensic services posed a threat to justice and putting the work in police hands would be disastrous”. With the closure of an independent state run forensics organisation, the burden of proof moved to the police and the private sector where criminal trials could collapse for all sorts of reasons, legitimate or otherwise. The national Audit Office made their case quite clear at the time, that justice should not be traded for profit. But it was.
That was then. This is now. Tories are about to outsource the work of Bailiffs who collect court fines
Now the Tories have taken another disgraceful step forward. But only when everyone is on holiday in a vain attempt to bury this bad news. This time, a highly sensitive part of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is about to be sold off to a private bidder (not necessarily to the highest of course). Enforcement officers, who are largely responsible for collecting court fines, have just been told their work is being outsourced.
Bailiffs collect the fines where the court has not been paid. By being privatised, the government says it will save them £3.5 million a year for the next five years. Staff at the Courts and tribunals Service are obviously subject to civil service codes that governs precisely what Bailiffs can and cannot do. You would expect there to be a cost in managing the court system. After all, it’s about justice being done.
Use of Bailiffs in London jumped 51% in 2016, hitting low income households hardest
In London, the use of Bailiffs rose 51%, mainly from low income households owing council tax, in just 2016 alone. Freedom of Information Act requests revealed debt collectors’ visits surged after the Government abolished council tax benefit, with local support instead provided by cash-strapped councils. They found 26 of the 32 boroughs now charge families who were previously deemed too poor to pay council tax.
The “Still Too Poor to Pay” report said some boroughs had even introduced charges for disabled and unemployed residents for the first time. This pushed more than 131,000 London households into arrears last year. Where bailiffs are used, their fees are added to a claimant’s council tax arrears — which the charities said meant “inflating the debt and making it harder for households to repay”.
There’s money to be made on the backs of the poor, and privatized Bailiffs will squeeze them to pay their debts
In the eyes of profiteers, there’s money to be made from debt, especially from the poor. Privatization of the court bailiff system is like privatizing parking enforcement – and look where that led – scandal after scandal. The civilization of law enforcement has always proved to be much worse than when managed by government with civilian scrutiny.
Citizens are left to shoulder the burden of government incompetence
This, like so many other privatisation projects this will end in failure with the over-stretched citizenry shouldering the burden of government incompetence and the poor exploited even further.
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