Friday, 12 February 2010

The market in public services: expensive, inefficient and unaccountable

Many public services in Lewisham are now being run by private companies. Whether that’s through outsourcing schemes like PFI, straight sell offs or the piece meal farming out of cleaning contracts, catering and maintenance.

This obsession with getting the market to run our public services has resulted in a worse service at a higher price. More than that because the services are now at arm’s length from elected officials they are all too often unaccountable.

Time after time on the doorstep in Crofton Park we hear horror stories about badly run services doing a shoddy job of housing repairs, paying their staff poverty wages or simply not delivering at all. But because these are private companies it is far harder to hold them to account than council run services.

Housing, schools, the health service and not to mention public transport all suffer when they are sold off to private companies. Far from improving these services free market dogma has gutted them so we end up paying more for less.

The Greens want to safeguard public services to provide quality and value for money under democratic control. That means resisting the drive to privatisation, and outsourcing. We believe in publicly owned public services where the focus is on the needs of the community not the bank balances of share holders.

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