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.