The Guardian view on rail privatisation: going off the tracks

Editorial from The Guardian: There are few more annoying issues for the great British public than their railways. While some cities and towns have seen stations spruced up, the public suffer from often late, expensive and frequently overcrowded train services. While the cack-handed rollout of infrastructure improvements has led to cancellations and delays on the network, commuters saw ticket prices rise at twice the rate of their wages between 2010 and 2016. Tuesday’s news that rail passengers will be hit by the largest fare hikes in five years next month will do nothing but confirm the view that the public are being taken for a ride. The situation, it seems, is one where private companies reap the benefits, while passengers bear the costs.

There is a good case to return more train operating companies to state hands. Three in four voters, disillusioned by high prices and poor service, back renationalising the railways. Many train lines in Britain are run by state-backed European rail firms. So why not in Britain?

[Read full editorial on Guardian website…]

Video: Thatcher’s privatisation of our water has driven up bills by 40%

Since Margaret Thatcher privatised our water in 1989, our water bills have gone up by 40% in real terms, while our rivers and natural environments have been poisoned with raw sewage again and again. Of course, tax-dodging CEOs get paid millions.

This short video from We Own It discusses publicly owned water companies overseas, and the costs versus benefits of renationalisation, to show that we can make a better choice.

Water should belong to all of us!

Privatised water companies have hiked our bills, polluted rivers, killed fish and dodged tax.Scotland and France show that public ownership works!SHARE if you want to take back our water.

Posted by We Own It on Friday, November 17, 2017

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“Water privatisation looks little more than an organised rip-off”

Jonathan Ford writes in the Financial Times: “How hard can it be to be the chief executive of a privatised British water company? Your customers are determined by geography, your prices set by a regulator… Pretty much all you have to do is to make sure your sewage plants work and to keep the public waterways clear of human waste.

[Read full article on FT website…] (paywalled, but free registration allows access to one free article per month)

Private companies with financial links to Tory politicians won NHS contracts worth £1.5bn within three years

Private companies with financial links to Tory politicians won NHS contracts worth £1.5 billion between 2012 and 2014, according to research by the UK’s largest trade union.

Among those highlighted in Unite research is former health secretary Andrew Lansley, the chief architect of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act dubbed “the death of the NHS as we know it”. Lansley received a donation of £21,000 from Caroline Nash, the wife of John Nash, in 2009. At the time John Nash was chairman of Care UK, one of the UK’s largest health companies, which, according to Unite, won more than £650m in NHS contracts between 2012-2014.

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“The Tory rail privatisation rip-off”

From Another Angry Voice: “When the Tories were introducing their ideologically driven and hopelessly botched plan to privatise the UK rail network the Tory Transport Secretary John MacGregor claimed that passengers would benefit from reduced fares.

“Anyone who understood the basics of monopolies (captive markets) knew that MacGregor’s promises were fantastical nonsense. Once a monopoly service is handed to a private profit-seeking entity, prices are certain to rise because there’s no price competition in a captive market.

“Two decades after rail privatisation the average train fare has increased by 117% (24% adjusted for inflation). On some journeys fares have increased by well over 200%.

“Aside from the direct hit to passengers’ wallets, there’s also the fact that the private rail operators are being showered with £billions in direct and indirect taxpayer subsidies.

“Annual direct subsidies to the private rail franchises far exceed the entire cost of running the entire UK rail network back when it was run as a not-for-profit public service.”

[Read full blog article on Another Angry Voice…]

Britain’s only publicly owned railway delivered record performance for passengers before Tory sell-off

From Daily Mirror: Britain’s only publicly owned railway was delivering all-time record levels of punctuality before it was flogged off by the Tory Government last year. Passenger satisfaction was also at an “all-time record” for any long-distance line, and the railway also made more than £1 billion for the Treasury before the line was privatised in May 2015.

[Read full article on Daily Mirror website…]