The Tories still can’t see the utter failure of outsourcing. Only a Labour government will demolish this sordid economic model.
This week 20,000 Carillion workers and many more in the supply chain have had their livelihoods put at risk. The responsibility lies with this shambolic Tory government and mismanagement by Carillion’s fat-cat bosses.
The collapse of Carillion, embarrassing for a government that had championed the company and awarded it contract after contract, represents another significant blow to the “private knows best” economic dogma.
Nothing has come to symbolise the worship of free-market solutions – often against all the evidence – more than the persistent belief that key public services would be better provided by profit-seeking companies. As the journalist Robert Peston put it, the collapse of Carillion represents the definitive end of a 25-year love affair with the private provision of public services.
The end of the affair has revealed some unedifying details about some of the participants in it: the apparent reliance by Carillion’s management on “low-balling” bids to win them, then sweating suppliers and workers to squeeze a profit; Chris Grayling’s insistence on awarding Carillion the HS2 contract even after its first profit warning; David Cameron’s decision to appoint Carillion’s chairman, Philip Green, as an adviser on corporate responsibility
The former chancellor George Osborne declared as recently as 2014 that the deal he signed to help Carillion win business in Dubai was a key part of the coalition’s “long-term economic plan”. Since Osborne left parliament, the firm he now advises reportedly took out bets on Carillion’s downfall. And yet in his Evening Standard editorial Osborne preferred to pass responsibility to civil servants, rather than the elected politicians who signed off deals with Carillion.
It’s hard to imagine a more...
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