Tag Archives: privatisation

Care workers awarded £100,000 in back pay – but why is their NEW employer paying it?

How pleasant to see home carers being awarded the pay they are due!

In a court victory, home care workers contracted by Haringey Council in North London were awarded £100,000 in back pay.

That’s between them, not individually – amounting to around £10,000 for each of the 10 claimants.

It seems the council had given the work contract to a private provider called Sevacare that cheated them out of money they should have been paid for travel time between patient visits.

As a result, some of them ended up being paid less than £4 per hour – less than the minimum wage, and much less than even the “National Living Wage” that the Tories introduced, which still doesn’t cover living expenses.

Care service companies, Kaamil Education Limited, Diligent Care Services Limited and Premier Carewaiting Limited say they inherited the case when they took over the work contract.

The firms who took over the contracts were ordered to pay the claimants.

Wait – what?

Why were the new providers ordered to pay? Why couldn’t the offending firm do it?

Has it gone out of business? Government contractors seem to do that, don’t they? Does anybody remember Carillion?

Mrs Mike was completely unimpressed by this story.

She reckons the problem is the sub-contracting of care work by councils to private providers, who always say they can do the work for a very low price.

Then the bosses and shareholders take their cut (Mrs Mike said), and the people who do the actual work end up with whatever’s left – the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel.

It’s a consequence of privatisation, she said. It was better when councils employed care workers directly.

Given this result, I’d say she makes a good point. Wouldn’t you?

Source: Unison: Care workers who made £4 an hour awarded in £100,000 court case – BBC News

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The great water privatisation disaster: Tory scheme means England could run out of drinking water

There’s a line in one of the Horatio Hornblower books in which the Admiral of the Fleet tells the young hero it’s every officer’s duty to leave the navy in better condition than when he found it.

That’s a good philosophy for any organisation.

What a shame the Conservatives don’t have the same philosophy – about anything at all.

In particular, we see their actual philosophy – “sell it off and ruin it” – in action in the UK’s water industry, which was privatised by the Thatcher government in 1989.

A new report by Parliament’s public accounts committee states that privatisation has been such an catastrophe that there is a serious risk that parts of England will run out of water altogether within the next 20 years.

The report says that “ponderous” water companies – 70 per cent of which are now owned by foreign businesses – have made “no progress” in reducing leakage meaning that more than three billion litres of water leaks out of the system every single day.

That’s one-fifth of the UK’s daily supply!

The committee says the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has failed to provide enough leadership in telling the private companies how to balance investment in infrastructure and reducing customer bills, but This Writer thinks that is nonsense.

The private companies are neither investing in infrastructure nor cutting costs – they are literally draining us dry.

We pay too much for the water we get and the lack of investment in the UK system by its foreign owners means soon we won’t even get it!

This is a problem entirely created by the Conservatives with their ridiculous lie that private firms are more efficient, more economical, and cost the consumer less. They aren’t, they aren’t and they don’t.

And by letting these firms fall into the hands of foreign business people, it seems our money is being invested into the systems in their own countries, rather than in ours. It’s certainly boosting the treasuries of the countries where these firms are based in tax – rather than our own.

This is an English problem.

Scotland receives its supply from the publicly-owned company Scottish Water, which is the most trusted public utility in the UK. It constantly invests in its system, keeps customers happy – and paying less, and is even reducing its carbon footprint.

In Wales, three million people get their supply from the not-for-profit firm Glas Cymru/Welsh Water which, according to surveys, has sector-leading levels of customer satisfaction.

Customers in Northern Ireland do not pay water charges to their publicly-owned water supplier, Northern Ireland Water.

England is less lucky.

Anglian Water is owned by a consortium consisting of Canada Pension Plan Investment BoardColonial First State Global Asset ManagementIFM Investors and 3i.

Northumbrian Water is owned by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings.

Southern Water is owned by a consortium called Greensands Holdings Limited, comprising  JP Morgan Asset Management (40%), UBS Asset Management (22%), Hermes Infrastructure Funds (21%) and Whitehelm Capital (8%).

Wessex Water is owned by a Malaysian firm, YTL Corporation.

Affinity Water is part-owned by US firm Morgan Stanley.

Bristol Water is part-owned by Japanese Itochu corporation.

South East Water is part-owned by Utilities Trust of Australia.

And Sutton and East Surrey Water is owned by the Japanese Sumitomo Corporation.

Other water firms are still UK-based – and some are only part foreign-owned.

Across the board, bills have increased by 40 per cent on average. Considering the efforts made by the publicly-owned/not-for-profit firms, it’s likely that some English customers have suffered much higher hikes.

Shareholders have received at least £56 billion since privatisation in 1989.

Six water companies have been found to be avoiding millions in tax.

Water makes big money.

But you can see that most of it has been going abroad.

It certainly hasn’t been used to plug any leaks!

The message is clear: public ownership is cheaper, more efficient, and guarantees that customers’ taps won’t run dry.

It seems the private shareholders are swimming in cash while ensuring that, in a very short time, you die of thirst.

Source: England faces “serious risk of running out of water within 20 years” – Committees – UK Parliament

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Does Whately’s scorn for student nurses hide a deeper Tory agenda?

Airhead or conspirator? What did Helen Whately mean when she said student nurses were ‘not deemed to be providing a service’?

After 25,000 student nurses volunteered to help NHS staff cope with the Covid-19 crisis in April, ‘care’ minister Helen Whately has announced that a new £5,000 grant will not be backdated to allow them to receive it because they are “not deemed to be providing a service”.

That’s the information we get from Nursing Notes:

The government scrapped the NHS Bursary system for student nurses and midwives in 2015 which subsequently led to a significant drop in the number of applicants.

Later this year the government will introduce the NHS Learning Support Fund which will provide non-repayable grants of up to £8,000 per year for both new and current student healthcare professionals.

Those who completed their course between this period feel understandably short-changed by a lack of financial aid – relying solely on student loans.

Tom Pursglove MP – himself a Tory – wrote to Ms Whately, asking for the grant to be backdated after he was contacted by student nurse Jessica Collins.

Ms Whately writes; “The Government has no plans to introduce a scheme that will backdate the offer for students who completed courses in earlier years.

“Student nurses in training are supernumerary and are not deemed to be providing a service. They are required to undertake 2,300 hours of clinical practice to learn the skills necessary for entry to the workforce.

“Whilst they may be performing limited clinical duties, this is under close supervision and they are not being paid to staff hospitals.”

Fine words from a government minister whose department would have been overwhelmed if those students had not volunteered their apparently non-existent services in April!

It would be easy to dismiss this comment as the witterings of an airhead and there is plenty of evidence to support such an interpretation of Ms Whately’s contribution to society.

Indeed, her letter goes on to claim – falsely – that those assisting with the COVID-19 pandemic were required to join an “emergency register” and would be paid a six-month clinical placement. According to Nursing Notes, this is not true – another lie to add to the ever-increasing pile of porkies the Tories have laid at our feet during the crisis that they made so much worse for people in the UK by their own selfishness, ignorance and laziness.

And what does Ms Collins, a mother-of-two who is graduating with debts of £60,000 because the Tories cancelled student bursaries, and who launched a petition calling for student nurses’ debts to be written off that attracted 200,000 signatures, think of the minister’s unkind words?

She told the Mirror: “The most shocking point of it was that we’re ‘deemed not to be providing a service’.

“I think you would only need to work one shift with us to see how we’re providing care for patients.

“We are under exactly the same pressures, we’re under exactly the same stresses.

“And the way she’s worded that just seems un-empathetic and so callous.”

Jessica said nursing students already feel undervalued and “to have it in writing I think is awful”.

She added: “I shared it with my closest circle first and there were a lot of tears, proper tears because it was that upsetting to some people.”

It seems Ms Collins will have a chance to clear the air with the minister next week, as part of a group conference call to discuss the issue.

This Writer believes nothing will come of this call apart from more hot air being blown down the phone lines at Ms Collins and student nurses like her.

And I reckon that – national loyalties notwithstanding – they will need to look to their own best interests when they graduate.

Other nations’ health services provide better pay and conditions than the NHS as it is run by the Conservatives, and nobody would blame them for taking employment that will help them clear the debt into which Tories like Ms Whately have pitched them.

If it creates a problem for the Department of Health and Social Care, so be it. The Tories already told nurses from foreign countries that they are not welcome, and it would do the country good to see that any problems in providing nurses are entirely caused by Conservative MPs.

And now I must ask: is that the plan?

Remember Noam Chomsky’s words on how the National Health Service could be privatised?

The Tories de-funded student nurses – and have now added insult to injury by saying they were “not deemed to be providing a service” during the Covid crisis.

If those nurses quit the NHS for better pay, then the NHS won’t work and people will get angry.

You know the Tories won’t take the blame – they never do. They’ll simply say the NHS as a system was always doomed to fail because socialist models always do – the usual baloney – and finish privatising the lot.

And the next time you need hospital treatment, they’ll slap you with a bill so large you could never, ever, hope to pay it.

Are you looking forward to that?

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NHS coronavirus PPE supply ‘severely undermined’ by private firms

Yet again: another chance to see this image of the rubbish PPE attempts in UK hospitals.

This Site reported that the privatisation of PPE supplies was a serious problem, weeks ago.

Vox Political is vindicated yet again.

It is alleged that a “dysfunctional” supply chain process and the production of essential PPE by private firms is behind the recent “fiasco” of hospitals not receiving enough protective kit.

Authors We Own It, a group of campaigners protesting privatisation of public services, and the Public Services International Research Unit at the University of Greenwich say that part-privatisation of NHS Supply Chain – the government organisation that oversees the supply of goods to health bodies – is leading to inefficiencies in the health service’s coronavirus response.

They also say more than 11 private suppliers provide medical equipment to hospitals.

In the case of PPE, they reported that parcel delivery company DHL led the procurement process for suppliers and private logistics firms who then provided hospitals with the medical items, removing civil servants from the process.

The report, named Privatised and Unprepared: The NHS Supply Chains, also blamed what it called “just in time” business models used by private companies like logistics business Unipart for the run down of PPE supplies. It alleges that this system encourages the reduction of stock.

Researchers argue that this creates a risk for the NHS that sufficient supplies are not available to manage unforeseen events, such as the current epidemic.

They also say the system’s part-privatisation made it “fundamentally dysfunctional”.

Source: NHS coronavirus PPE supply ‘severely undermined’ by private contractors, a report claims | The New European

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Tories are accelerating destruction of the NHS, just when we really need it

Money: Matt Hancock is more interested in making a profit for private firms than in your family’s health.

If you ever needed evidence that the Conservative government is hell-bent on wrecking as many UK lives as possible, this is it.

Just when the coronavirus pandemic is proving that the worst thing possible for a nation’s health is a privatised, profit-driven health system, Matt Hancock and his gang are using it as an excuse for more privatisation!

Apparently he reckons this is a great chance to push through the changes because they aren’t being subjected to proper scrutiny.

In recent weeks, ministers have used special powers to bypass normal tendering and award a string of contracts to private companies and management consultants without open competition.

Doctors, campaign groups, academics and MPs raised the concerns about a “power grab” after it emerged on Monday that Serco was in pole position to win a deal to supply 15,000 call-handlers for the government’s tracking and tracing operation.

Deloitte, KPMG, Serco, Sodexo, Mitie, Boots and the US data mining group Palantir have secured taxpayer-funded commissions to manage Covid-19 drive-in testing centres, the purchasing of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the building of Nightingale hospitals.

Now, the Guardian has seen a letter from the Department of Health to NHS trusts instructing them to stop buying any of their own PPE and ventilators.

From Monday, procurement of a list of 16 items must be handled centrally. Many of the items on the list, such as PPE, are in high demand during the pandemic, while others including CT scanners, mobile X-ray machines and ultrasounds are high-value machines that are used more widely in hospitals.

Centralising purchasing is likely to hand more responsibility to Deloitte. As well as co-ordinating Covid-19 test centres and logistics at three new “lighthouse” laboratories created to process samples, the accounting and management consultancy giant secured a contract several weeks ago to advise central government on PPE purchases.

The point on PPE purchases is crucial: the government is making it more expensive to buy this vital equipment, at a time when it should be widely available to as many people as possible.

Just think how different this would be if Jeremy Corbyn had won the 2017 election (it has been alleged that he only lost because of a right-wing faction in his own party that sabotaged him): these items would be free.

More people are going to die as a result of these decisions. Your friends and family perhaps. Maybe even yourself.

I think it’s time Matt Hancock had a nickname. What should it be?

Murdering Matt? Hancock the Hangman?

Source: UK government ‘using pandemic to transfer NHS duties to private sector’ | Business | The Guardian

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Private employment agencies are making a killing by paying nurses a pittance

What do you think of this little racket?

Remember when the Conservative government introduced privatisation into NHS procurement? It means the health service in England can hire nurses from private agencies.

There is a shortage of nurses, meaning that agencies like Thornbury Nursing can pretty much ask whatever price they fancy, and NHS England will have to pay.

The agency then pays its nurses less than half of what it charged the NHS – making the work unattractive to all but those who are most desperate for cash, and perpetuating the staffing crisis.

Here’s the punchline: Thornbury Nursing is run by a private equity fund owned by a major donor to the Conservative Party.

I’m not saying this person pulled strings to ensure that a situation developed from which they could profit.

I don’t have any information either way.

But if that isn’t what’s happening, why doesn’t this company either lower its charge, or increase the amount it pays its nurses?

Source: Private agencies paying workers less than half what they charge NHS to hire – Mirror Online

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Extended jail term plan will lead to disaster

Behind bars: Boris Johnson’s plan for extended jail terms – stretching overstrained prisons beyond their limits – is criminal. But Johnson seems immune to punishment.

Conservatives can’t run prisons.

We all know this – right?

They tried privatising prisons and the cuts imposed by the privateers (in order to make a profit) meant wardens could not keep control.

Consider the failure to control drug use or even to stop drugs being passed into prisons.

Overcrowding led to unrest and even the occasional riot.

Now Boris Johnson has announced an intention to extend jail terms, meaning even more people will be packed into our limited prison space.

Or is he going to build more (like he promised to build more hospitals)?

Even if he achieved this – and I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting – would he not simply turn them over to private companies that would cock it all up again?

Yes, of course he would.

The UK’s prime minister is deliberately plotting a disaster for the justice system.

Or is there evidence that I am mistaken?

Source: Watchdog warns of prison overcrowding as Boris Johnson vows to extend jail terms | The Independent

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Johnson’s corrupt plan for the BBC – the propaganda arm of the Tory party

Not my image: Somebody else made this – indicating that concerns over the BBC’s claim to impartiality are well-founded.

Some might say it’s a good thing BBC director-general Tony Hall has been persuaded to retire early.

Robert Peston says it means current chairman David Clementi will have a chance to oversee the installation of a new DG who is not under the influence of Boris Johnson and his svengali Dominic Cummings.

But Clementi’s term in the chair is nearly over, and it seems likely Johnson will use the government’s influence over the membership of the BBC board to ensure that whoever replaces him will fire anyone the prime minister doesn’t like – and replace them with a Tory puppet.

Of course we all know that news reporting on the BBC ended several years ago; we have been fed Tory-leaning propaganda for some time now.

The current move is to ensure people at the top of the BBC who won’t get in the way of Johnson’s plan to put an end to the UK’s public service broadcaster and deliver it to commercial operators (who will, of course, kowtow to the Tories).

Source: Johnson and Cummings want say on new BBC Director General, Robert Peston writes – ITV News

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RAF hero wouldn’t have spent 12 hours on a hospital trolley if Tories hadn’t messed with the NHS

Stan Solomons: This 92-year-old war hero spent 12 hours on a hospital trolley waiting for help because of Conservative government policy, not NHS failings.

You’re going to see a lot of stories like this in the future, if you haven’t already. But you need to remember some important facts:

Absolutely right.

The Tories have been defunding and weakening the NHS – by privatising services – in order to provoke criticism of the services that are left in public hands.

The ultimate aim is to claim that the public service is unviable and should be privatised.

But we know – don’t we? – that the public service was hugely popular when it was properly-funded, and it is only since the Tories took over that incidents such as that involving Stan Solomons have become commonplace.

So let’s all remember that Conservative government is the reason for this:

It’s approaching midnight inside Leicester Royal Infirmary, and 92-year-old RAF hero Stan ­Solomons is still waiting on a ­trolley.

He’s been here for almost 12 hours, admitted to A&E via ambulance at around midday.

Stan, who trained at the ­codebreakers’ HQ Bletchley Park during the Second World War and went on to serve with the RAF and later at a ‘listening post’ in Hong Kong, is not one to complain, but his feet are hanging off the edge of the trolley.

“I grew up in the years before the NHS was set up, when healthcare was ‘hit and miss’,” Stan says.

“My ­generation built the NHS to take the worry out of being ill, and to make sure that everyone has access to good quality healthcare.”

shocking new figures showed a record collapse in ­emergency care across the NHS – with Stan just one of tens of thousands of people left on trolleys.

In December, the number of people waiting four hours or more on hospital trolleys reached 98,452 while 2,347 people waited more than 12 hours. Both figures are the highest on record.

Source: RAF hero, 92, left on trolley for 12 hour in crisis-hit NHS

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Rail fares rise by 2.7 per cent – and most of the money will go abroad

This is a Pacer train – a bus frame mounted on train wheels as a “stopgap” measure more than 30 years ago, until Northern Rail could afford to replace them. That has never happened and they remain in use today because Tory privatisation means huge amounts of our money have subsidised foreign nationalised railways rather than being invested in our own.

Are you aware that, Brexit or no, huge amounts of your money are funnelled into European Union countries – because of Tory privatisation of our national assets?

That may seem a strange way to open an article about this year’s 2.7 per cent increase in rail fares – but the point is that the extra money being extorted out of commuters will go abroad, to fund foreign rail services.

And the fact is that trains in the UK are now almost entirely state-owned – by foreign countries.

Yes, by stupidly selling off our railways into private hands, the Tories allowed them to slip into the ownership of foreign national railways.

It is to those firms that the extra money from yearly rail price increases goes.

Alternatively, perhaps you’d prefer to think of it in these terms: the same foreign rail services – owned by EU states – have creamed off seven-eighths of the subsidy that the UK government provides to privatised rail services and are using that money for themselves.

When I reported on this three years ago, that subsidy totalled £3.999 billion from the year services were privatised (1994) until 2017 – meaning foreign-owned rail systems had made £3.5 billion in profit from the UK.

Now, with far more of the network owned and run by foreign countries – and three years later – the amount of profit is likely to be far greater.

And the Conservatives running the UK absolutely love giving that money away.

They love the fact that almost all the money the Treasury has been providing to improve the service has been leeched off in profit for foreign rail services instead.

They love the fact that rail fares have shot up by nearly half since 2010, squeezing commuters’ pay packets – which are already worth less than they were in 2008 due to Tory austerity.

They have to love it – otherwise they have to admit that privatisation is a crushing failure that harms UK citizens rather than empowering them.

By contrast, rail fares in Germany have just been cut by 10 per cent.

German state-owned railway Deutsche Bahn runs around a quarter of all UK rail operating companies through its firm Arriva UK Trains.

So, if you have travelled by rail over the last few years, your money has helped make it cheaper for Germans to use their trains.

That is the result of UK rail privatisation.

The Tories are responsible for this. Still, at least the Germans know what to do with it, if only in their own country.

Source: Rail fares rise by 2.7%, hitting millions of commuters – BBC News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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