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Low paid workers at Luton airport have taken industrial action

Low paid workers at Luton airport have taken industrial action against Sasse, their private employers. “The workers who are responsible for maintaining a safe and clean environment for staff and passengers at Luton Airport are currently struggling to make ends meet on the minimum wage of £7.83. Sasse, which was awarded the contract by Luton Airport in April this year, has offered a three year pay deal to increase workers’ pay, but by 2021 workers will still be earning below the real Living Wage of £9.00. Unite members employed by Clece Care Services have suspended their planned strike action while the workers vote on a revised offer from the company. Unite regional officer Jeff Hodge said: “Bosses at Luton Airport are behaving like Scrooge. By 2021 cleaners at Luton Airport still won’t be earning a Real Living Wage. With healthy profits and growing passenger numbers, Luton Airport and its contractors have no excuse for paying workers below the Real Living Wage.”


Despite decades of privatisation, support for public ownership in the UK is very high

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis has made the case for public ownership. “Despite decades of privatisation, support for public ownership in the UK is very high. Research commissioned by the Legatum Institute in 2017 revealed that 83% of the public support bringing water companies into public hands. It also found that over 70% of people support public ownership of railways, electricity and gas. A survey conducted by YouGov in 2017 found similarly high support for public ownership. Public opinion is firmly on the side of bringing services back into public hands. And with Labour now making the case for public ownership too, the tide is turning against the privateers.”

Source: The Canary

Major public-sector suppliers to draft ‘living wills’ as part of post-Carillion outsourcing approach

All major public services providers “will have to draw up ‘living wills’ determining what would happen if they go bust as part of the government’s post-Carillion approach to outsourcing.” The government will pitch this idea first to five key companies: Serco, Capita, Sopra Steria, Engie and Interserve. Cabinet Office minister David Lidington told the Business Services Association that “we are professionalising our contract management through accreditation of all government contract managers and from today an estimated 30,000 civil servants across central government will have access to new online contract management training.”


Documents (9)

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The Privatised Water Industry in the UK. An ATM for investors

This paper aims to critically evaluate the privatised water & sewage industry in England. We find that the public-owned sector in Scotland delivers the service just as efficiently, albeit at a lower cost to consumers. Our econometric analysis suggests that the 40% increase in real household bills since privatisation was mainly driven by continuously growing interest payments on debt, contrary to the regulator attributing them to growing costs and investments. Finally, we show that the accelerating debt levels are primarily the result of disproportionate dividend pay-outs, which exceeded the privatised companies’ cash balances in all but one year since 1989. We conclude that the way the industry operates may no longer be sustainable and seems to disadvantage consumers greatly without their knowledge, as there is a fog of misleading statements by the companies and the regulator.


From Transactions to Changemaking: Rethinking Partnerships between the Public and Private Sectors

This report published by the New Local Government Network (NLGN) is a new voice to the debate on the role of the private sector in the delivery of public services. While the current debate remains unhelpfully polarised along party lines, we argue that partnerships between the public and private sectors must fundamentally change – from an approach that is primarily transactional in nature, to one that is changemaking.


Nationalising'Special'Purpose'Vehicles'to'end'PFI:'a'discussion'of'the' costs'and'benefits

A new paper by Dr Helen Mercer and Professor Dexter Whitfield "Nationalising Special Purpose Vehicles to end PFI: A discussion of the costs and benefits" provides an initial set of costings relating to the proposal to end PFIs in the UK through nationalising the Special Purpose Vehicles. The article uses book value to estimate that the cost of compensating the shareholders of the SPVs on HM Treasury database would be between £2.3bn and £2.5bn. It further analyses the potential savings to public authorities. The article proposes that service contracts are renegotiated so that the public authorities contract directly with the providers, not via the SPV. This secures significant annual savings from the elimination of operating profits, of £1.4bn, indicating that nationalisation will pay for itself within two years. Further the article proposes to honour all outstanding liabilities but to secure substantial refinancing through a new body in which ownership of the SPVs will be vested. Finally, the article suggests that as service contracts are ended, either through break clauses or other reasons, the public authorities must bring provision ‘in-house’, ending outsourcing and also providing further savings from more rational and integrated provision. The approach has been developed on the basis of significant research into how PFIs operate and consideration of the range of alternative solutions to the PFI problem that have been put forward so far. These issues are also explained and developed in the article.

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Selling space - Britain's public spaces going private

When strolling in parks and squares, you could be forgiven for thinking that they are all publicly owned. But more and more public spaces are being bought by private companies and although the public is still allowed to use them, there are restrictions. We speak to Will Self and the Conservative MP for Croydon South - Chris Philp - a member of the Treasury Select Committee.

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