For decades, our union has stood firm against privatisation in all its forms. Throughout the 80s and 90s when successive governments have sought to hive off our public services to the rich and powerful, we have always fought to keep those services in public control – because we know, and the evidence shows, that public services by the people for the people are the best services. When the greedy take control, whether in care, our NHS or elsewhere, it’s our people who suffer.
Successive privatisation disasters have only sought to strengthen our case.
So I was proud to lead the debate against privatisation at the TUC Congress today and call on our whole movement to make scrapping privatisation once and for all our top priority. Last year the Labour Party unanimously joined our call to bring services back in house where they belong in the first year of the next Labour government. Not just some of them, all of them. Not waiting until the current contracts end, but taking action as a day one commitment. Every single privatised service must return in-house – no ifs and no buts.
Today, the whole trade union movement has echoed that call.
At a time when the NHS is at risk of being parcelled off to American corporations as part of a grubby trade deal with Donald Trump, the need to act is more urgent than ever. Public funds are already being siphoned off into the pockets of the powerful and the dodgy world of off-shore companies in the most outrageous way – and a No Deal Brexit risks a terrifying acceleration of that process.
Privatisation demeans, damages and destroys. Privatisation was never a necessity, nor will it ever be. The toxic mix of privatisation and austerity was a political choice, but there is an alternative to this wanton profiteering. That alternative is public services in public hands – and our union won’t stop until all public services are back where they belong.