Tonight, Channel 4’s Dispatches is airing ‘How to Lose Seven Billion Pounds’ in which economist Liam Halligan unfolds the story of Carillion, the vast British company that was built on billions of pounds of public money and that imploded in January 2018. Its demise had a massive impact on the NHS in particular. Earlier this month even the Daily Telegraph was aghast as it reported ‘Half-finished hospitals still lie idle after Carillion fall’. It is another grim legacy of past governments’ obsession with outsourcing our health and other public services to private corporations. The demise of the grossly mismanaged Carillion has also been disastrous for the estimated 30,000 businesses owed £1 billion by the defunct company. There is, however, some good news for liquidators PwC brought in by the government to act as the official receiver: individuals working for the accountancy firm have been reportedly claiming an average £356 per hour, with some even charging up to £1156 for their services. Talk about rewarding failure.
Firms like Carillion have been the main beneficiaries of the Tories’ determination to privatize and wreck our NHS. The company was, for instance, paid £200 million to clean QMC and City hospitals from 2014 until April last year. But this agreement was terminated before it was due to end because of Carillion’s ‘unacceptable’ performance. Since then the contract involving 1000 employees has been taken back in house and hygiene standards have dramatically increased from the lowest to the highest rankings. The whole experience is yet another demonstration of what happens when a government outsources vital public services to people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
The Labour Party is committed to scrapping these rip-off contracts and giving value back to the taxpayer.