UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Britain’s Private Care 'faces crisis’ - FT

A profound headline and a very interesting report in today’s FT which surveys the wreckage of the outsourced private care sector, as Southern Cross, the sector’s biggest company and employer of 30,000 care workers, is on the verge of collapse: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/307bbd3e-8af5-11e0-b2f1-00144feab49a.html#axzz1NwUMoqIG

These developments are of huge significance to the debate on public sector reform. As part of its Value-for-Money mantra, the Conservative Party’s 2010 General Election Manifesto stated ‘if productivity in the public sector had grown at the same rate as in private sector services, we could now have the same quality of public services for £60 billion less each year’. For this read the quality of care and employment practices represented by the likes of Southern Cross:

In February 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron, writing in the Daily Telegraph about his plans to unleash more privatisation with a version of Big Society which will include the 'modernisation' of public services by handing them over to the private and voluntary sectors:

Recent propaganda and spin has suggested that the Government is ‘scaling back plans to use the private sector to deliver public services’, according to the the BBC. We shall see soon enough:

Perhaps the continuing delay affecting the publication of the Coalition Government’s widely trailed Open Public Services White Paper, does indicate genuine divisions in its ranks:

Nonetheless now is the time for the labour movement to expose the failure of a market in public services and the fallacy of private sector delivery of quality public services and value for money.

In two words - to all of the salaried politicians and tedious seminar speakers who pontificate about ‘evidence based’ public policy - here you have it: Southern Cross.