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Documents (10)

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Ending Bandit Capitalism: Learning the lessons following Carillion’s collapse

The UK public services union Unite has published an in-depth report on the collapse of the government outsourcing company Carillion. “Carillion’s approach to bidding for these contracts underlines the inherent problem with successive government’s mania for outsourcing. The company which provides the lowest bid is awarded the contract, creating a race to the bottom where all the quality is cut from a contract with the wages of staff and their conditions being seen as a prime area to chop. In many cases the low bid is a deliberate gamble as the company hopes to make healthy profits from additional services required by the client outside of the contract.”

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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.

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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.

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The Privatisation of UK aid. How Adam Smith International is profiting from the aid budget.

After decades of work by campaigners and activists to boost overseas development spending to 0.7% of national income, private companies are creaming it off. Global Justice Now reports that “consultancy firms, including Adam Smith International (ASI), are ‘taking an ever increasing share of the aid budget and enjoying generous profit margins.’ In 2014 alone, the Department for International Development (DfID) spent £90 million through ASI, which is twice what DfID spent tackling HIV and Aids.”

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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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Double standards: How the UK promotes rip-off health PPPs abroad

This report concerns Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in healthcare, known in the UK as the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). It exposes how such PPPs have been an expensive failure in the UK, attracting criticism from government ministers, and yet those same ministers run departments which promote PPPs, including in health, around the world.

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UNSOCIAL HOURS ARRANGEMENTS IN THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS

This factsheet provides a comparison of the main features of unsocial hours schemes across public sector bargaining groups as well as community, voluntary and private sector organisations. It highlights the common features of schemes, the major trends that are reshaping unsocial hours arrangements and false comparisons that have been used by employers to try to erode schemes.

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Public ownership of the UK energy system – benefits, costs and processes

Apr 2016, David Hall. The possibility of a return to public ownership of the UK energy system has increased since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour party. This paper sets out the advantages of public ownership; the extent of public ownership in other countries; how the process of returning to the public sector could work in the UK – taking full account of EU law; and calculates realistic estimates of the cost, the possible impact on debt, and the scale of the benefits.