“My experience, as a Treasury adviser, minister & cabinet minister was that if you wanted to stop private sector contractors ripping off the tax payer, you need to get them bound into longer term contracts.” Ed Balls
Stunningly, Ed Balls doesn’t think the massive amount of debt he helped lumber the NHS with is a bad thing. On the contrary, unrepentant Ed is proud of Private Finance Initiatives.
Much of the taxpayers money funnelled through PFI during the New Labour period saw extra funding costs and profits go to private backers who are registered offshore so as to avoid UK tax. What’s worse is these contracts have ended up costing the taxpayer significantly more than funding schools and hospitals conventionally – using the economic tactics of tax and spend advocated by John McDonnell.
At the time, following the fiddling tactics used in the infamous dodgy dossier, the British Public were told this insane larceny was ‘value for money’, a shocking opinion Balls still holds to. This despite the fact that the private firms involved are still seeing astronomical returns, and are more than happy to be “bound in for a generation” as Ed Balls says.
The tax paying British Public and their beloved NHS are less pleased, however, as thousands of hospital staff across the country are sacked to fill the financial hole caused by Mr Balls and his New Labour cronies with their terrible contracts. In response to this Balls says :
“We made some mistakes with PFI in the early years. We had it working pretty well at the end.”
That is a very contentious reading of the facts. The largest PFI scheme at Barts Health Trust was signed in 2006, after Balls and New Labour had had a decade to learn from their mistakes. So did they? That deal now costs £130 million a year, generating a deficit of over £100 million a year. This has resulted in savage staffing, procurement and operational cuts.
As the Unite Union General Secretary Len McLusky said recently :
“Privatisation is well down the road in our NHS – what we should be campaigning for the Renationalisation of our NHS.
And I’ll tell you where the money comes from – it should come from tax avoidance and tax evasion, the corporate elite who rob from the Treasury £40 billion every year.
If the govt spent half it’s energy on that instead of attacking the very heroes who raced out of St Thomas’ last week – disregarding their own safety to help people.
Invest in our NHS and renationalise it.”