A letter a day to number 10. No 1,311
Sunday 10 January 2016.
Dear Mr Cameron,
The primary difference between state owned (nationalised) assets and privately owned companies is that state owned assets exist to serve a function, be it health provision, police and fire services, the provision of gas and electricity and so on, whereas, private companies have to factor in profitability for sustainability and development and as return to it’s stake holders or share holders.
All nationalised industries and services also have stake holders or share holders (tax payers) but the return on the investment is in the product or service provided. In business terms the NHS might run at a total loss financially, but the profit exists is in its provision to its stake holders, everyone, as universal health care. It even factors in non-contributors like children, refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. The NHS was world renowned as the mark of a truly civilised nation and was ranked first in the world in 2014 by ‘the Commonwealth Fund, a Washington-based foundation which is respected around the world for its analysis of the performance of different countries’ health systems’. Whether that is still the case under the brutal handling of Jeremy Hunt remains to be seen, but if he has his way it will not last in his determination to privatise health care and turn health provision into a privatised insurance business.
The difference between a nationalised industry or service and private companies is as wide as the difference between politics and religion, they are completely different animals and ne’er the twain should meet. Like politics and religion, there’s plenty of room for both, it is not a case of one or the other, but mixing them has serious consequences, almost entirely for the worse as we are discovering to our great cost.
A report by the National Audit Office has revealed that the omnishambles that is Universal Credit, the flagship of Iain Duncan Smith, is costing more in privatised Work Capability Assessments than it saves in stripping people of their lifeline benefits. Maximus, the US company that took over from Atos to (badly) perform Work Capability Assessments has a history in the US of malpractice so it must be home from home for them in joining the DWP and, like Atos, they are proving incapable of meeting their contractual requirements and the cost of this privatised incompetence is measured in people’s lives.
Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) are another financial disaster of no benefit and at vast cost to the public. The Independent reported in just one case PFI’s were an utter disaster, namely ‘Barts Health NHS Trust in London, which was placed in special measures last month (March 2015). It is £93m in debt – struggling under the weight of a 43-year PFI contract under which it will pay back more than £7bn on contracts valued at a fraction of that sum (£1.1bn)’.
Privatising the state is the pursuit of madness by incompetent madmen providing vast wealth for the few at the very great cost of the many, the tax paying British public.