Parliament is handing over even more power to corporates for 20 pieces of silver
News broke today that the Kings Fund is paving the way for further privatisation of the NHS and Capita formally takes over the Food and Environment Research Agency next Wednesday, despite a string of privatisation scandals; these include the ATOS debacle and the revelation that G4S and Serco, two big outsourcers, had overcharged on electronic tagging contracts. (Left: Kings Fund: 11-13 Cavendish Square, London)
MP Margaret Hodge: “the most important public policy issue of our time”
The Serious Fraud Office investigates Serco and G4S, the National Audit Office has called for tighter scrutiny of government contracts and Margaret Hodge, who chairs the public accounts committee, has called the privatisation of public services – with around half the government’s £187bn annual spending going to private contractors – “the most important public policy issue of our time”.
Capita formally takes over FERA next Wednesday after paying £20m for a 75% stake
Professor Tim Lang, who heads City University London’s food policy unit and advises Westminster and World Health Organisation, said: “I think it’s absolutely scandalous. This is selling the state, and the moment a state loses its access to science it’s in trouble.” He claimed many food policy experts shared his view but were unwilling to speak out about their concerns.
Capita track record in Birmingham – just four of many complaints
- David Bailey, professor of industrial strategy at Aston Business School has received a large amount of correspondence from distraught and seriously ill constituents who have been waiting months for Capita to carry out an assessment for their claim for disability benefits, many of whom are now facing serious financial problems because of these delays.
- Professor Bailey has repeatedly called for the contract to be market-tested, and said: “If the contract had been cancelled in 2012, at my estimated cancellation cost of £25 million, then there would actually have been a net in-year financial benefit for the council given the £28 million saved.”
- Birmingham City Council handed over its council tax collection department to Capita Service Birmingham in 2011 with a commitment to raise collection rates, but in July the Post reported that Council tax arrears in Birmingham have risen by 15% in the last year with the local authority owed more than £105 million.
- MP Roger Godsiff, who has questioned Capita closely about its costs and profit margins (a taxpayers’ subsidy) said the contract for IT, call centre and pay roll services is an “egregious misuse of Birmingham citizens’ public funds”.
Capita has already outlined plans to almost double sales by making the unit’s work more commercial; Professor Lang warns that the agency will now be under pressure to ignore low-paying projects vital to public safety and the environment in favour of more lucrative research – no one will pay for evidence about food and biodiversity, or food and pesticide residues.
Posted on March 26, 2015, in Civil servants, Conflict of interest, Corporate political nexus, Democracy undermined, Finance, Food, Government, Health, Parliamentary failure, Planning, Privatisation, Reward for failure, Taxpayers' money, Vested interests and tagged Birmingham City Council, Capita, FERA, Kings Fund, MP Roger Godsiff, NHS, Professor David Bailey, Professor Lang, Professor Tim Lang, Public Accounts Committee, Serious Fraud Office. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.