Friday, January 18, 2008

British Gas raises prices by 15%

Despite announcing profits of £533m. Read more about the latest privatisation rip-off here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Did you spend time stranded over Christmas due to the lack of train services? Are you struggling to pay your gas and electric bills? Are you frustrated by waiting for trains that never arrive, or when they do, having to stand, even though you have paid a fortune for your ticket? And are you frustrated that despite all the talk from politicians, things just keep on getting worse?

Then join our campaign!


“Look at the various parts of the national infrastructure that have been privatised, and practically all of them have gone downhill: buses, trains, water, power“.
Sir Terence Conran, designer.

“We will run trains if the Government funds them. They already subsidise the railway for 363 days a year so why not the remaining two?”
A 'senior rail industry source’, quoted in The Times on why Britain’s privatised train companies refused to run any services over the Christmas holiday period.

"The real cost of the destruction of British Rail, initiated by John Major's government 15 years ago, is finally emerging. Both aspects of the double whammy suffered by passengers after Christmas - the engineering overruns and the fare rises above inflation - can be traced to that piece of mindless vandalism that Labour has done so little to repair. The only way to improve the railways is to re-create BR."
Railway expert Christian Wolmar, writing in The New Statesman.

Almost thirty years since privatisation began in Britain in 1979, public dissatisfaction with its consequences are at an all-time high. Proponents of privatisation claimed that the selling-off of Britain’s public utilities, public transport and infrastructure would improve efficiency and benefit the consumer. In fact, the opposite has occurred. Britain‘s privatised railways are the most expensive in Europe, despite receiving four times more in taxpayers subsidy than British Rail. As prices have rocketed, services have deteriorated with commuters who have paid thousands of pounds for their season tickets being forced to stand in toilets. Railways in Britain are no longer run as a public service as they are in the rest of Europe, but in order to maximise profits for shareholders.

British householders meanwhile face massive hikes in gas and electricity prices imposed by privately owned utility companies, such as Npower, which recorded profits of £377m in 2007. Thirty years ago, utility bills were a very minor item in the household budget, now millions of Britons are struggling to afford them.

Britain’s privatised airports are a national disgrace, with BAA preferring to fill space with retail outlets instead of providing adequate seating for passengers. At Heathrow’s new Terminal 5, there will be only 700 seats for an average of 80,000 passengers a day when it opens in March 2008.

In their relentless quest for increased profits, privatised companies have not only consistently raised prices above inflation, but have cut back on their workforce and failed to adequately invest for the future. Short-term profiteering has replaced long-term investment, gravely affecting Britain’s long term economic prospects.

It is clear that by any objective assessment, privatisation has been a disaster for Britain and the vast majority of the British people. The only ones who have benefited have been the directors of the privatised companies, wealthy shareholders (86% of shares in Britain are owned by just 4% of the population) and the banks who have made a fortune out of the privatisation process.

Yet rather than act in the interests of the majority, the British government and the official opposition still holds to the ludicrous fiction that privatisation has been a ‘success’. Despite the overwhelming public support for renationalising the railways, none of Britain’s leading three parties currently advocates such a measure.

Worse still, the British government tries to pressurise other European countries to follow Britain‘s path: in 2007 Britain supported a European Commission proposal for EU member states to ‘open up’ their domestic railway systems to allow foreign firms to enter the market. It beggars belief that Britain, which has the most expensive and least reliable railway system in the continent is trying to get other European countries, which still have excellent publicly owned, integrated public transport systems, to follow our example.

The Campaign for Public Ownership is a cross-party organisation which aims to harness public dissatisfaction with privatisation and campaign for a reversal of the disastrous policies of the last twenty-nine years. The Campaign will expose the cost to the public of privatisation, and highlight the inefficiencies and profiteering of the privatised companies. We also strongly urge that the British government does not give a penny of taxpayers money to a privately owned company without the public receiving equity in that company.

The Campaign will seek to counter the negative propaganda about public ownership put about by those with a vested financial interest in privatisation.

Although the main focus of The Campaign’s activities will be the reversal of privatisation in Britain, we will work with like-minded groups in other countries, who are fighting against privatisation. We will also challenge the pro-privatisation policies being imposed by unelected, undemocratic bodies such as the European Commission, the World Bank and the IMF.

It’s time to bring to an end the Great Privatisation Rip-Off.

The Campaign for Public Ownership 2008

If you’d like to get involved in our campaign, please email us at

At the moment we are working on developing a full website, with links, articles and more details of our campaign, which will be up and running shortly