Since being in power, the Conservative dominated government has been on a mission to covertly and overtly privatise as many of our public services as possible – all in the name of profit.
Last year, Cameron was involved in controversy over the grossly undervalued sale of Royal Mail – a sale which netted bankers Lazard, Goldman Sachs and UBS tens of millions in profit and cost the public around £1 BILLION in lost sale revenue
This week, two articles in the mainstream press expose the extent to which public services are being used by the government to line the pockets of private companies.
The Guardian reported how privatisation within the NHS is rife as a result of the much criticised Social Care Act which can into force in April 2013.
The Act has dramatically extended the enforced tendering of services within the NHS, opening up much of the service to the private sector.
Over £18.3 BILLION worth of service contracts are open to tender, and include diagnostics, surgery, community care, ambulance and patient transport, pharmacy, and musculoskeletal care.
From The Guardian:
Analysis by the NHS Support Federation, an independent campaign group, reveals that profit-driven companies such as Bupa, Virgin Care and Care UK have so far won a total of 131 contracts worth a combined £2.6bn to provide NHS services since the Health and Social Care Act came into force in April 2013.
They have won two out of three of the 195 contracts awarded by NHS bodies in England in the 19 months since that legislation dramatically extended the enforced tendering of services in the NHS. Those 131 contracts represent about half the value of the 195 deals that have been agreed.
Researchers tracking the awarding of NHS contracts say that, if the private sector continues its 50% win rate by value, it will earn a potential £6.6bn more of the £13bn of other contracts which have been advertised but not yet awarded.
That would result in private firms earning £9.2bn as a direct result of the changes ushered in by then health secretary Andrew Lansley’s restructuring of the NHS, which a cabinet minister recently described as the coalition’s biggest mistake.
The National Health Service was established across the UK by 1948 as a result of the Beveridge Report which recommended creating a comprehensive health and rehabilitation service for the prevention and cure of disease. The concept of the service was that every citizen would be able to access a good standard of healthcare regardless of financial or social status. It was designed as a state-run SERVICE – not a business for private profit.
However, in recent times we have seen the service used and abused as a cash cow, where the main focus seems to have shifted from providing good quality care to making a profit.
The NHS is funded through tax and national insurance contributions – so it is paid for by citizens and administered by government.
The privatisation of health services effectively means that UK citizens are paying for private companies to make a profit – at the expense of high quality, properly resourced front-line care.
A massive amount of the NHS budget is wasted on administration to ensure compliance with government statistical reporting requirements, and through the resources needed to administer the tendering process – let alone the layers of management needed by each trust to cope with legislative and policy demands of government. All of this money is stealing from the reason the NHS was established – to provide care. The NHS has become a massive bureaucratic dinosaur. Again, all paid for by UK citizens.
One of the companies to profit from the government’s privatisation policies is Care UK – who also happen to be a donor to the Conservative party. So far, they have won three contracts worth £104 million.
Since April 2013 private firms bidding alone or with another similar firm have won 117 of the 195 contracts, as well as 10 as part of a consortium alongside a charity and an NHS provider, and a further four while partnering with a charity. Over 80 types of services are included in the 865 contracts, including dermatology, double the number that were being tendered in 2012. The commonest ones being advertised include diagnostics (133 contracts), mental health (64), GP services and out of hours care and NHS 111 services (59), pharmacy (51) and community care (39).
There is no reason why the NHS can not be operated efficiently as a public service. What makes it difficult to do so is the government squeeze placed on NHS resources.
Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary told The Guardian “The public NHS is disappearing before our eyes and people need to join the fight for it before it is too late. Ministers have run down the NHS and left it in a highly vulnerable position. While hospitals are struggling with a growing A&E crisis, other lucrative services are being hived off”.
And that is about the whole story. The government have manipulated the NHS into a position which makes tendering for contracts very difficult with limited financial resources while at the same time making it much easier for private companies to take over.
Paul Evans, director of the NHS Support Federation, said: “There has been a clear expansion of NHS contracts being put before the market since the Health and Social Care Act was passed. Private companies have consistently won the lion’s share of awards.
“This is proof of a consistent process of NHS privatisation in action. We cannot allow our health service to become dominated by the market and private sector provision. We urgently need to protect our NHS services and allow them to plan properly, not pitch them into a constant bidding war for patients”, he added.
In another major report this week, The Independent reveals how private companies, many of them foreign, are making huge profits from privatising public services.
The exclusive report proves how energy, transport and utility networks are run by companies owned by other European governments – meaning foreign exchequers reap the dividends while UK customers struggle with increasing fares and bills.
In the past two years alone, overseas taxpayers have taken dividends totalling nearly £1bn from companies which make their profits from UK households and passengers.
As with the NHS, we are seeing basic essential SERVICES being run as businesses, costing the taxpayer BILLIONS of pounds in over-inflated bills – especially in the energy sector.
Essential services are meant to be operated at cost with a margin for development within a specified budget that the country can afford. In turn, this means citizens using those services have reduced costs and more resources would be available to invest in developing a more efficient infrastructure – such as green energy.
Under the current agenda to privatise everything it possibly can, the government allows private companies to do as they please – as we have seen with the ridiculous rise in energy costs – with minimal controls placed on them.
In a highly ridiculous move we are seeing more and more of our police services falling into private hands, and there seems to be no limit to what the government will privatise.
The citizen is paying twice – once in taxes for service provision by the government and again in inflated charges which make profit for private companies.
Members of the government – or/and their cronies – make profit from their share portfolios and investments in those private companies, as well as receiving highly lucrative directorships or consultant fees etc when their political career comes to an end. We often see this in the energy business when ex-politicians become consultants and directors of oil companies etc.
It is easy to see who ‘wins’ and who ‘loses’ in the privatisation game.
The extent of the government’s privatisation agenda has gained more coverage in recent months as more people become aware they are being exploited for the financial gain of others. This has prompted more calls for many of our services to be renationalised.
The anti-privatisation organisation, ‘We Own It’ has conducted research into the impact of privatisation, and the consequences for citizens.
Public services are here so that every citizen has access to the basics of life regardless of their situation, and they are an essential part of any civilised society. They are designed so people are supported throughout their lives and receive benefits from their contribution to society.
The aim of the government is to take those benefits and safety nets away, to plunge us all into a situation where we will be forced to fend for ourselves if we can not afford those basic services.
Effectively we are being forced into economic slavery.
After privatisation will come the removal of rights to access services unless one is able to meet government imposed criteria. We have seen this begin to happen with the governments ‘welfare reforms’ and you can be sure that is not the end of their agenda.
We will be dragged back a few centuries where those who are unable to financially contribute to government coffers will be on the street with no support whatsoever.
If you are under the illusion that it could not happen in Britain, take a look at the real situation in the United States where even ‘middle-class’ families have been forced to live in cars and tents when they hit harder times – mostly because the infrastructure of the country is in private hands and their influence on the political system is all consuming.
Cameron and his cronies are of the same mind-set as they have clearly demonstrated since being in government. They blame an ‘economic downturn’ for introducing their agenda, but scratch below the surface just a little and it is clear that they have instigated much of the hardship and lowering of citizens standard of living.
At the same time as they preach ‘austerity’ the government strips away every last penny they can get from ordinary citizens, and still spend obscene amounts of money on projects which will financially benefit them and the rich in society. They are treating the public purse like their own piggy-bank with no regard for the consequences for the people who contribute the most.
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