POLITICS: Public are losing control

I see Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP is again praising the Conservative Government for being ‘able to invest more in the vital public services we all rely on’, (Northumberland Gazette, January 10).

By The Newsroom
Friday, 25th January 2019, 5:00 am

What she consistently omits to say is that her Government has, for the past eight years, imposed damaging cuts to public services in the name of an arbitrary austerity programme.

Investment now is playing catch up and is too little, too late.

This austerity programme, however, is part of a wider, near 40-year programme of privatisation, outsourcing and dismantling of these ‘vital public services’.

The Conservative Party seems to have adopted a Britain plc business approach to government, which has passed much of the public control of these ‘vital services’ away from our elected representatives to private companies and their shareholders, such as public utilities.

In Britain plc, PLC means ‘Public Lose Control’.

Those ‘vital public services’ that have not yet been privatised have been obstructed by the imposition of internal markets.

NHS managers have become stallholders in this market, buying and selling services from and to one another, rather than focusing on delivering them to their patients.

Similarly, education has largely been taken out of the hands of elected local councils and passed to quasi-businesses and charities, no longer in the control of publicly elected representatives.

Local councils have had their funding cut, which inevitably means cuts to their services. This approach has been applied to all services that “we all rely on”.

If they have not been handed to the private sector in entirety, there is outsourcing and so-called arms-length services, all of which takes control and accountability away from elected representatives. Public services should be embraced, not kept at arms-length.

To make a bad situation worse, the ardent privatisers in Conservative Party and Government blame the EU for our loss of control.

All agree that any form of Brexit is likely to reduce the nation’s wealth, and guess where savings will be made, yes, in the vital public sector.

And who will be in control? It is unlikely to be the public through our representatives.

Britain plc will continue, and the public will lose more control. To really take back control we need to control our vital public services.

Geoff Hoskin,