Monday, December 17, 2012

Renationalise now! : CPO Press Release on the 'spiralling' problem of Fuel Poverty

Monday 17th December 2012

New research by the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group has highlighted the "spiralling" problem of fuel poverty in the UK. As gas and electricity prices continue to rise way above inflation, the group has warned that around 300,000 extra households could be forced into fuel poverty within weeks, with around 9m people forced into fuel poverty by 2016.

The government seems to think that simplifying tariffs is somehow going to help solve this problem. Yet this policy is merely tinkering on the edges.

The Campaign for Public Ownership believes that the only long-term solution to the problem of energy company profiteering is to restore the energy companies to public ownership.

The problem lies in the ownership structure of the energy companies. Their overriding aim is to maximise profits for shareholders, (and in the case of EDF, to the French state). Instead of reacting with horror to the entirely predictable news that PLCs are putting the interests of shareholders before Britain's long-suffering energy consumers, we should instead be calling for the government to take the one step that will lead to lower energy prices in the long term. Restoring the energy companies to public ownership will mean that prices can be lowered, as there will be no shareholder dividends to pay.

It’s clear that unless the government acts, millions more Britons will be forced into fuel poverty. The great privatised energy rip-off  must be ended without any further delay.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Follow the Campaign for Public Ownership on Twitter!

The CPO has launched on Twitter.

Please follow us if you'd like to keep up-to-date with news/information about public ownership/privatisation, and receive details of our campaigns and press releases.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why Britain needs public ownership: Meeting at 21st Century Marxism Festival

You can hear CPO Director and co-founder Neil Clark, Andrew Fisher of Left Economics, and Robert Griffiths, General Secretary of the Communist Party, make the case for public ownership at the 21st Century Marxism Festival in Bishopsgate, London today. Details here and here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Seumas Milne: G4S should make it easier to beat the privatisation racket

If nothing else, the spectacular failure of G4S, the world's largest security firm, to get even close to meeting its Olympics contract should at least bury the fantasy that private companies are more efficient than the public sector. While G4S staff have failed in their thousands to turn up at one Games location after another, the police and the army have had to sort out the corporate chaos.

You can read the whole of Seumas Milne's Guardian piece on the terrible price we have all had to pay for privatisation and outsourcing,  here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Neil Clark: G4S's Olympic struggles should derail the drive towards more privatisation

This article, by CPO co-founder Neil Clark, appears on The Guardian's Comment is Free website.

Private companies have one aim: profit maximisation. So expect cuts in staffing levels and everything done on the cheap 

The next time you meet one of those free-market ideologues who tells you private companies are always more efficient than the public sector, don't bother to get involved in a lengthy argument. Instead just use the example of G4S. 

You can read the whole article here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Athens plans huge wave of privatisations

Terrible news from Greece.

Ben Chacko at the Morning Star reports:

Greece's ruling coalition unveiled an "everything must go" sale of the country's assets over the weekend as Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras gushed that privatisation was his "top priority.

"The privatisation programme aims at attracting important international capital," Mr Stournaras told MPs on Saturday, sketching a vista of foreign corporations rushing in to snap up Greece's infrastructure and services.

The initial wave of the project would include 28 major privatisations, including state natural gas, water and betting companies, a number of key airports including that of Athens, the state railways and various marinas and other properties.

Some services would be taken over entirely by the private sector, he said, while in others the state would rent back the infrastructure from the buyers.

Mr Stournaras added that this was just the beginning, with a second bout of sell-offs, including that of the Public Power Corporation, planned for a later date.

You can read the whole of Ben's report here.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Railway bosses give themselves average salaries of £1million as passengers face fare hikes

The Daily Mail reports:

Bosses of the five main companies that run the nation’s railways have paid themselves average salaries of £1million. 

Critics say the rises are ‘scandalous’ at a time when passengers face inflation-busting fare hikes.
Millions had to cope with fare rises of up to 11 per cent this year and more increases are in the pipeline for next year. 

The pay rises, before bonuses, pension contributions and share-options, come as taxpayer subsidies to rail top £4billion a year. 

You can read the whole article here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Water, water everywhere, but its too expensive to drink

This column by CPO co-founder Neil Clark ,on England's great water privatisation rip-off, appears in the Morning Star.

The Crazy Gang. The Keystone Kops. The Marx Brothers. Just three of the all-time great comedy troupes. To which we need to add another name - the Institution of Civil Engineers. 

Last week this bunch of comedians issued a report which claimed that water in Britain is too cheap and recommended the introduction of compulsory metering. 

It would be a hilarious, side-splitting joke if only the subject under discussion wasn't quite so serious. 

In England water prices have risen by an average of 5.7 per cent since April, nearly double the rate of inflation. 

More and more people are finding it harder to pay their water bills. Research by the Consumer Council for Water has found that one in seven of all customers feel their charges are now unaffordable. 

Far from being too cheap, water in England is actually too expensive - and the reason is a simple one. It's called privatisation. 

You can read the whole of the article here.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Neil Clark: Why it's time to renationalise England's water

You can listen to an interview with Neil Clark, co-founder of The Campaign for Public Ownership, on BBC Radio Newcastle, here. The discussion starts at around 10 minutes into the programme.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Neil Clark: Eastern Europe's neoliberal disaster provides a warning for the Arab spring

This article by CPO co-founder Neil Clark appears on The Guardian's Comment is Free website:

I wonder if David Cameron spent any time in eastern Europe in the 1990s.

Judging from his recent remarks about the Arab spring and international aid, the British prime minister seems to believe that having a more "open" and "free", ie privately owned, economy is the key to both economic development and a successful transition from one-party rule.

The evidence from the former communist countries gives lie to that neoliberal viewpoint.

You can read the whole article here.

Monday, May 7, 2012

71% say renationalise the water industry

The Sunday Express reports:

CALLS to renationalise the water industry have risen as a summer of drought looms despite heavy rain. 

Seven out of 10 voters want the control of water supplies taken out of the hands of major companies, many foreign-owned, and put back into public ownership.

After a month of constant rainfall and even flooding failed to lift drought restrictions in many areas, there are strong signs the public is increasingly frustrated with the performance of private companies and the Government at tackling the water crisis. 

You can read the full article here. 

If you live in England, then please write to your M.P. asking whether or not they support renationalisation of England's water.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Centrica head office ‘rip-off' blockade

The Daily Express reports:

PROTESTERS forced energy giant Centrica to shut its head office yesterday after storming it complaining of “rip-off” bills. More than 50 members of environmental group Greenpeace blockaded the road leading to British Gas parent company’s offices in Windsor, Berkshire, using a 260 square foot spoof bill. Five demonstrators locked themselves in and barricaded entrances with large bills printed onto sheets of wood. Hundreds of workers were turned away. Greenpeace said average bills rose £150 last year, £100 of which was due to rising gas prices. It accused Centrica of relying on “expensive, imported gas”.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Water bosses pocket huge bonuses and hand shareholders massive payouts

The Daily Mail reports:

Four million pounds in bonuses have been paid to the directors of water firms – despite their failure to repair leaks which allow 300million gallons to be lost every day.

All but one of the companies, which today brought in hosepipe bans for 20million customers, handed rewards to their board members in the last financial year.

These include £2million for three executives at Britain's largest water supplier Thames Water, whose highest paid director, understood to be chief executive Martin Baggs, took home £1.67million in 2010/11.

More on this story here.

It surely is time to renationalise water and end this great privatisation rip-off.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Neil Clark: Pull up on the hard shoulder, David Cameron, and think again

This article, by CPO co-founder Neil Clark, appears in The Week.

THEY'VE flogged off the Tote, the state-owned bookmaker set up by Winston Churchill in 1928. They've sold the Channel Tunnel rail link to two Canadian pension funds. The NHS faces privatisation in all but name, some police services are to be carried out by private companies, and the Royal Mail, in state hands since its inception in 1516, is to be sold, with the taxpayer left paying for the company's pension fund liabilities.

And still the serial privatisers in the ConDem coalition aren't satisfied.

The most manically pro-privatisation government in British history - one which makes even the Thatcher governments from 1979-90 look positively social democratic - now wants to hand our motorways and 'A' roads over to private companies and foreign-owned investment funds.

The whole article can be read here.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Britain's railway madness: ConDem Government wants even higher train fares at peak times

The Daily Mail reports:

Commuters travelling at the busiest times face paying super-peak fares in the biggest rail shake-up for a decade.

Train companies are also expected to be allowed to charge more for journeys immediately after the busy periods in the morning and evening.

And Network Rail will be broken up into a series of regional centres which will give privately-run train companies more control of the tracks on which their services run.

The Campaign for Public Ownership believes that the government is on completely the wrong track with its railways policy. Instead of encouraging an even more complicated pricing policy, and continuing to support the disastrous privatisation model, which has led to Britain having the highest rail fares in Europe, the government ought to be listening to the vast majority of Britons and bring the railways back into public ownership. When that is done, a simple, easy-to-understand distance-based pricing system can be introduced.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Neil Clark: Renationalise English water

This article, by CPO co-founder Neil Clark, appears on the The Guardian newspaper website.

The obscene commodification of a natural resource has gone on long enough, ripping off ordinary people

Here we go again. In the past 12 months, we've had significant hikes in our gas and electricity bills (not reversed by recent cuts due to a fall in wholesale prices) and above-inflation increases in train fares – which are already the highest in Europe. Now it's time for the water companies to put the boot in.

Ofwat has announced that average household water and sewerage bills in England and Wales are to increase by an average of 5.7% from April. As in the case with the rail fares, we're told that the reason that prices are rising is to enable more "investment" by the water companies. But a closer inspection is highly revealing.

You can read the whole article here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Seumas Milne: It's not too late to save the NHS from the barbarians

This piece by Seumas Milne appears in The Guardian:

Unless decisive action is taken in the next few weeks, the National Health Service is heading for disaster. The battle over the coalition's plans to turn England's NHS inside out has been going on so long, the details are so arcane and claims of concessions so regular, it would be easy to imagine that the worst had been averted and common sense prevailed.

.... Cameron and Lansley insist they don't plan to privatise the NHS, of course. But that's exactly what's happening on the ground even before the bill hits the statute book. The first private company to take over an NHS hospital, the Tory-linked Circle Health, won the contract to run Hinchingbrooke hospital in Cambridgeshire in November, even as it admitted it may not be able to "provide a consistent level of service to its patients".

And the government has been in talks with international health corporations about taking over 20 more, while private companies are already running local doctors' services and preparing to administer the clinical commissioning groups of GPs due to take over the purchaser role in the coalition's new market model. Facts are being created on the ground.

You can read the whole article here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Neil Clark: Help fight fare rises and push for railway renationalisation

This piece by CPO co-founder Neil Clark , appears on the Guardian's Comment is Free website.

The latest price increases show Tory serial privatisers got it very wrong in the 90s. Join the protests to put things right

“Whichever way one looks at it, privatisation is a giant asset-stripping process. It is a very efficient way of taking money out of taxpayers' pockets". Gwyneth Dunwoody, the Labour MP who uttered those words during a debate in parliament on rail privatisation in February 1995, deserves some sort of posthumous New Year honour for calling it exactly right.

While Tory ministers claimed that selling-off the railways would bring "benefits to passengers and taxpayers", and scoffed at opposition concerns, the latest above-inflation price increases in Britain's rail fares – already by far and away the highest in Europe – shows once more that the serial privatisers of John Major's Conservative government got it very, very wrong.

You can read the whole article here.