Despite insisting for the past ten years that ordinary people need to tighten their belts to save the economy and that there supposedly isn’t a ‘magic money tree’ for *frivolous* things like livable wages for nurses and firefighters, it has been revealed today that the Conservative government have handed over more than half a billion pounds of taxpayer’s money to bail out privatised probation firms.
The Tories’ catastrophic decision to privatise probation services came despite numerous warnings that their clearly ideologically-driven scheme would end up costing the taxpayer dearly.
The Government was warned about this. Again. And again. Probation officers, police officers & frankly pretty much everyone else all warned them this policy wd be a disaster & wd put public at risk. And it has. How can Chris Grayling get away with this kind of failure? Again. https://t.co/CeHX7MTFwV
— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) July 27, 2018
Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon warned in Parliament this week that the government were planning to hand the failing private probation companies another huge wodge of bailout money from the public purse.
This week I warned that the Tories may try to sneak out another bailout for the failed private probation companies once parliament was shut for the summer.
They have just done so. It's another £170 MILLION to those failing companies.
Labour will end this privatisation racket. pic.twitter.com/zKL7tvV11o
— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) July 27, 2018
Predictably, Burgon’s prediction came true today after the Tories sneaked out an announcement stating that the private companies now tasked with monitoring offenders in the community would be handed another £170m of taxpayer’s money, taking the total wasted on the disastrous privatisation scheme to a whopping £500m.
Despite widespread warnings, the disastrous reforms to privatise the service were introduced by the calamitous former Justice Minister, now Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling.
And now, after four years of catastrophic waste and failure upon failure, the privatised probation service looks set to be reformed yet agin after the government finally saw sense and decided that the contracts handed to the eight firms who run probation services across the country would not be renewed.
In a statement slamming the government’s woeful incompetence, Shadow Justice Secretary Burgon said:
“This announcement is further evidence that the Conservatives’ decision to outsource whole swathes of probation to the private sector has created an unprecedented crisis in the system. This ideological experiment has been a costly failure, just as Labour warned it would be.
This decision to throw more good money after bad and the government’s re-commitment to a privately-run probation service shows that the Conservatives have run out of all ideas on how to fix their broken system. Delaying this announcement until parliament closed for the summer is a tacit admission by the Government that its probation policies can’t withstand the slightest scrutiny.
With a Labour government there will be no more bailouts for failing private probation companies. Labour is fully committed to returning the probation system to the public sector. The Tories should do likewise and create a probation system that prioritises keeping the public safe rather than boosting the profits of private companies.”
Burgon also took to the Sky News studios to criticise the Tories latest privatisation disaster:
Tory privatisation of probation has been a disaster.
They've handed over an extra £500MILLION to bail out the private probation companies.
The Tories should return probation to the public sector. If they don't then Labour will. We'll put an end to this privatisation racket. pic.twitter.com/srXmY2Mfi1
— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) July 27, 2018
Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell was another to slam the government for wasting taxpayer’s money on yet another failed ideological privatisation experiment:
Private probation companies are being bailed out with £500m of taxpayers money after the ideological experiment of privatising probation introduced by Grayling has failed. Another disaster by Grayling. He should never be allowed near any government office. https://t.co/89HckFXhaG
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) July 27, 2018
The current economic model of outsourcing and mass privatisation is slowly dying on its knees, and this latest ideological disaster is just one of a cascade of neoliberal privatisaton failures to occur in the past year.
Private outsourcing firm Carillion collapsed earlier this year, with the government bailing the private firm out to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayer’s money. Furthermore, there are worries about numerous other government-favoured private outsourcing companies going under and requiring taxpayer bailouts, fears that were sparked following the news that Interserve’s share price had crashed in January.
Add these recent failures to the ongoing financial calamities caused by privatisation within the NHS, on the railways, and to our utilities such as water, gas and electric, and you’ll see that the lie that was spun way back in the 1980s about privatisation supposedly being more efficient than state run monopolies was a complete and utter lie.
Privatisation has merely ensured that all the profits made have been pocketed by super-rich private shareholders, rather than being reinvested into improving the services, as would happen if such essential utilities were nationalised.
However, after 40 years of near political consensus on neoliberal privatisation, Britain finally has one major political party who are promising to undo the catastrophic failures of privatisation.
However, given that the super-rich shareholders who benefit from privatisation also happen to be some of the most powerful and influential people in the country, it is little wonder that the billionaire-backed corporate media are doing their level best to distract the public by smearing Jeremy Corbyn at ever opportunity.
Because, let’s make no mistake about it, if they actually tried to debate on policy, they wouldn’t stand a chance of winning the argument.