Rolling back privatisation?

Few campaigners or union activists appear to have noticed or commented upon Labour’s Manifesto commitment to roll back privatisation in public services. Some of Labour’s manifesto promises go further than many union activists and campaigners have realised.

The Manifesto promises (under ‘Kick start economic growth’) to “introduce legislation within 100 days to implement in full” Labour’s ‘Delivering a New Deal for Working People’. This specifically includes steps to:

end the Tories’ ideological drive to privatise our public services, extend the Freedom of Information Act to apply to private companies that hold contracts to provide public services, exclusively with regard to information relevant to those contracts, to ensure any outsourced contracts are transparent and accountable  …

“The next Labour government will also examine public services that have been outsourced as part of our drive to improve quality, design better services to meet changing needs, ensure greater stability and longer-term investment in the workforce, and deliver better value for money. …

“In most cases, the best time to achieve value for money for publicly run provision will be when existing contracts expire or are broken through a failure to deliver. Before any service is contracted out, public bodies must carry out a quick and proportionate public interest test, to understand whether that work could not be more effectively done in-house. The test will evaluate value for money, impact on service quality and economic and social value goals holistically.

“We will also reinstate and strengthen the last Labour government’s two-tier code to end unfair two-tiered workforces. The scope of the two-tier code and the public interest test will apply to wholly owned subsidiary companies.”

Full story in The Lowdown, 9 July 2024

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