Mon 21 February 2011
CBI ‘living in a Thatcherite wonderland’ – UNISON response
to CBI submission
UNISON, Scotland’s largest union in public services, has criticised
a submission by the CBI on the future delivery of public services
claiming it is living in a Thatcherite wonderland.
The union says the CBI’s call for private companies to have
a ‘right to bid’ to deliver public services would lead to a
complex chain of contractual relationships with huge cost implications.
It would also require an army of people to manage it, taking
staffing resources away from where they are needed most – delivering
In its submission to the Christie Commission – a group established
by the Scottish Government to look at the long term pattern
of public service delivery in Scotland – the CBI also talks
of privatising Scottish Water, a move which would cost the taxpayer
far more than keeping it in public hands.
Mike Kirby, UNISON’s Scottish Secretary, said: “Public money
is for delivering public services, not lining shareholders’
pockets, and the CBI’s talk of a ‘right to bid’ for public services
quite clearly shows they are living in a Thatcherite wonderland.
“The evidence on privatisation, outsourcing and shared services
is not that they are cheaper and better run – quite the opposite.
We have seen time and time again the huge failures of privatisation;
a perfect example is the outsourcing of hospital cleaning which
resulted in the number of cleaners being cut in half and hospital
infections rising as a result.
“The CBI is merely bowing to the myth that privatisation will
deliver savings and improvements while experience shows it breaks
up integrated provision, lowers standards and costs the public
twice as much.”
Notes to editors: Other examples of the massive failures
of privatisation are:
1. In November last year, a leaked report revealed that British
Telecom was overcharging Liverpool City Council by £10 million
a year for outsourced services. The controversial report, conducted
by the council itself, criticised what has been regarded as
one of the UK’s flagship outsourcing projects. It highlighted
that the council could save £23 million a year by cancelling
the contract for IT services and a call-centre operation, and
taking the work in-house.
2. Last week, it was revealed that two Scottish police forces
are considering privatising cells in a bid to save money. Press
reports revealed the two forces were in discussions with private
security firm G4 Security to provide prison cells. UNISON condemned
the plans as “crazy” and claimed it would result in another
costly PFI scheme which would be bad value for money for the
taxpayer. One of the police forces in England that tried this
is Staffordshire. As a result of a freedom of information request
from the UNISON police branch, we now know that the service
costs three times more than the original cost of the in-house