A Short History of Privatisation in the UK: 1979-2012
From the first experiments with British Aerospace through British Telecom, water and electricity to the NHS and Royal Mail
Richard Seymour guardian.co.uk, Thursday 29 March 2012 11.03 BST
Photograph: Martin Keene/PA
Royal Mail is being auctioned, and not necessarily to the highest bidder (and stamp prices are going up). The London fire brigade is outsourcing 999 calls to a firm called Capita, at the behest of the oleaginous chair of the capital’s fire authority, Brian Coleman. Multinationals are circling hungrily around NHS hospitals. Schools are already beginning to turn a profit. In the technocratic nomenclature of the IMF, this would be called a “structural adjustment programme”, but that doesn’t really capture the sweeping scale of the transformation. We can see this through a potted history of privatisation in the UK.
re-posted from an article by Marcus Mulholland in 21st Century Socialism 18th June 2011.
Ignacio Galan, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Scottish Power, had his
annual salary increased to £10.5 million, including a performance-related £6
million bonus. This pay rise, no doubt, took account of his contribution to the
profits of the Spanish-based transnational conglomerate Iberdrola, which owns
Scottish Power, in raising its prices to UK consumers by 10% for electricity
and 19% for gas- thus leading the pack of energy suppliers in a second round of
major price rises this year.
Already between January and March 2011, energy charges to British households
were increased by approximately 6%.
The announcement was one of a series of recent news items, each treated as a
separate story by the media. These included:
* the revelation that Britain’s public subsidy to the railway companies has
risen enormously since 1993, while their efficiency has fallen far below that
of the (state owned) railway systems in other European countries;
* the likely loss of 3,000 jobs at the last remaining former British Rail
Engineering Limited factory in Derby, due to its current owner, the Canadian
firm Bombardier Inc., losing contracts to its Japanese rival Hitachi and its
German rival Siemens;
* the disgrace of Southern Cross, involving 30,000 elderly and disabled people
being put at risk because their homes and care arrangements were used as means
of financial speculation and enrichment.