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Britain's Big Society Scheme Backfires

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TEHRAN, Feb 23 (ICANA) – The British Prime Minister has disclosed his plans to privatize all of the UK's public sector as part of his Big Society scheme, triggering resentment among the people.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 10:26:25 AM
Britain's Big Society Scheme Backfires

The Conservative premier, David Cameron, let the cat out of the bag in an article for the Daily Telegraph in which he wrote he wanted to end the “state monopoly” over public services by removing all barriers to private companies taking over schools, hospitals, transport system, and all other council services. Cameron claimed that the changes, to be announced in a white paper soon, would release the public sector from the “grip of state control” and give power back to the people. Under his proposals, coalition ministers would be given the right to sell-off public services without parliamentary scrutiny. His plans triggered a furious backlash from the unions and public sector campaigners who warned that privatization on such a scale would scrap people's capabilities to hold elected bodies to account on delivery and push back living standards to pre-1920s levels. “Privatisation replaces democratic oversight and accountability with a contract culture. Voters and service users lose their say in what will be a get even richer quicker scheme for the companies that win contracts,” said general secretary of Trade Union Congress (TUC) Brendan Barber. “Public service workers should be very afraid. The real profits will come from attacking their terms and conditions, and will only entrench the longest decline in living standards for ordinary people since the 1920s,” added Barber. Unison general secretary Dave Prentis accused Cameron of wanting to turn the clock back to a time when access to schools and hospitals was a privilege, not a right. “This is not about modernisation. It is about privatisation and creating an open market for the Tories' friends in big business to make billions out of our public services,” he said. The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) general secretary Bob Crow said the Tories would “privatize the air we breathe” if they could get away with it. “He will have a bare-knuckle fight on his hands as trade unions join with local communities to defend everything from hospitals to the Fire Service,” he said. “If the government is prepared to listen when half a million sign a petition against the forest sell-off, just think what double that amount on the streets of London on March 26 could achieve,” said Civil Service union PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka. “Mr Cameron's Big Society will hand over the public sector to a handful of monopolies. This underlines the need for united and militant action to block Con-Dem policies and bring down a government which has no democratic mandate,” said Communist Party of Britain general secretary Rob Griffiths.

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