Much of that money will be handed to shareholders in tax-free profits, doing nothing whatsoever to help people suffering from health problems and contributing to the worsening of – for example – the regular winter crises in Accident and Emergency departments across the UK.
And there is the question of corruption to consider: Care UK funded former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley when he was drafting his Health and Social Care Act, the lamentable piece of legislation that allowed private companies into the NHS. Did they provide him with £21,000 on the condition that they receive contracts worth millions?
The whole situation stinks like a cesspit. The sooner a Labour government takes office and kicks out these lazy freeloaders, the better.
It was announced last week that Care UK had secured a £55m contract to provide elective healthcare services at the North East London Treatment Centre, Redbridge.
Care UK reported in 2013 that public funds accounted for 88% of the company’s revenues and admitted to using “tax-efficient” financial structuresinvolving the Channel Islands. Its sister company, Silver Sea, is domiciled in low-tax Luxembourg. In 2014 the Guardian published a story claiming that Care UK had not paid a penny in corporation tax since it was bought by the private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital in 2010.
Claims that the Tories are selling off the NHS and other public services to their city banker mates have been rubbished as apocryphal by their supporters. But you only have to look at cases like this to see the truth of the matter.
These companies are simply in it for the profit, and the only way for them to make a profit is by charging more than the service costs to provide. In the public sector that difference would be ploughed back into the service for the benefit of all. For private companies, it goes out of the NHS and usually out of the UK, squirrelled away from the tax authorities in offshore havens. If they don’t make a profit they don’t stick around for long.