Private water company bosses have pocketed £175 million in last 5 years

From Morning Star: Bosses of England’s nine private water companies have pocketed £175 million in pay and benefits in the last five years, general union GMB disclosed today.

GMB, which has thousands of members working in the water industry, revealed the pay packages as part of its “Take Back the Tap” campaign, calling for the water industry to be returned to public ownership.

Since water privatisation in 1989, customers’ bills have increased by 40 per cent in real terms.

The union says the industry’s top 54 executives pocketed an enormous £40.3 million in 2017 alone. Executive directors and senior management received an average of £746,296 each in salaries, pension contributions, bonuses and benefits.

[Read full article on Morning Star website…]

Failing private probation firms given £277m public bailout

From Private Eye: The Ministry of Justice gave a huge £277m bailout to the eight firms running Britain’s failing private probation companies in late July, without announcing the massive deal to either MPs or the public. This big reward for failure is over ten times the £22m bailout already given to the firms in May.

Inspectors have found poor services at the private firms, which have slashed staff and provision. In many cases ex-offenders are interviewed by probation staff over the phone rather than in person.

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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)

Rail fares have ‘increased twice as much as wages since 2010’

From London Evening Standard: An analysis by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) showed that rail fares have risen by around 32 per cent in eight years, while average weekly earnings have only grown by 16 per cent.

[Read full article on London Evening Standard website…]

Privatisation ‘has added £50 billion to the cost of running Britain’s railways’

From Metro: The cost of running Britain’s railways has increased by £50 billion due to the ‘ill-judged’ break-up of British Rail. Researchers from the University of Essex said that the new system is highly fragmented and inefficient – leading to losses, and higher fares for customers.

[Read full article on Metro website…]

Privatised energy firms lobby Theresa May to water down price cap pledge

From The Guardian: Privatised energy companies are lobbying the Conservative party to water down its policy of a price cap on bills, with proposals that would protect millions fewer UK households from tariff rises.

Theresa May has promised to cap electricity and gas costs for 17 million families on default energy deals, called standard variable tariffs, after five of the big six suppliers increased prices. But under a compromise that has been put to the government, only 6m households would have their energy bills capped.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

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…]