A renaissance in public ownership
Public ownership and control over our essential public goods and services can lead the fight for social and environmental progress.
The predominance of private ownership in the provision of public goods and services is now widely seen as problematic, driving greater private accumulation and a relentless transfer of money from the public sector straight into the coffers of private companies, the erosion of democratic control and lost oversight of our industries, utilities, transport and other public goods and services.
Over the years this has taken on different forms and does not always mean full privatisation. Partial privatisation such as the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and other forms of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and the Non- Profit Distributing (NPD) model have become commonplace.
That is why we now need a renaissance of public ownership. Not for its own sake but because public ownership means greater accountability and planning for better services based on public need rather than market forces.
Public ownership can take different forms and it need not be that public ownership solely resembles a monopolistic monolithic state enterprise. Community, workers co-operatives and municipal form of ownership can comfortably work alongside national corporations.
Whatever the form of public ownership, it can have a positive impact on democratising and redistributing wealth and decision making.
Developing new forms of ownership can also address the failures of privatisation and lead to greater long term investment and planning, for example helping to deal with the exponential rise in automation and ensure that technological change works in the interests of, rather than punishes, working people.
Developing public ownership represents a comprehensive and fundamental change, but it is a radical change which is a Labour change and a popular change.
Under my leadership I will:
Initiate an urgent and comprehensive review of how we fund our public projects and infrastructure so that it does not provide a cash bonanza to absentee shareholders.
Our public services are there to serve the Scottish public not the balance sheets of financiers.
Commit to signing no new PFI or NPD deals, to look to bring existing contracts back in-house and to develop alternative public sector models for funding infrastructure, saving the public money and improving services and working conditions.
I will ‘in-source’ health services, ending the creeping privatisation of health services.
Work proactively with councils to develop municipal ownership in policy areas like buses, social care, building and energy.
Conduct a comprehensive root and branch review of social care, with a view to increasing publicly owned care provision.
Create an Industrial Reform and Common Ownership Act to give workers a statutory preferential right to buy an enterprise when it is up for sale or facing closure.
Support the development of cooperatives and place Cooperative Development Scotland on a statutory footing.
Establish a Public Common Good Fund that would help support the development of cooperatives.
Create a National Energy Company to facilitate and expand community, cooperative and municipal energy generation and that also builds in democratic control of our energy sector. Surpluses will be used to reinvest in infrastructure and tackle fuel poverty by keeping energy bills down.
Continue to Campaign against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) because of its potential to drive privatisation in public services and undermine democracy.
Campaign Against the Canadian European Trade Agreement (CETA), which has the exactly the same potential as TTIP to potential to drive privatisation in public services and undermine democracy.
Legislate to introduce a law that that prohibits any future Scottish Government from privatising Scottish Water.
I will take train services back into public ownership at the earliest opportunity
I will propose a Bill to ensure that the NHS in Scotland remains publicly funded, publicly controlled and publicly accountable by: Providing that the delivery of NHS services shall continue to be and remain free at the point of use;
Capping the provision of healthcare services purchased using NHS funds from private health care providers to instead build up in house capacity;
Capping and control the use of nursing services obtained by the NHS through private agencies;
Requiring the Cabinet Secretary for Health to lay an annual report on key aspects of this Bill relating to public control and public accountability of the NHS before the Scottish Parliament for the purpose of due parliamentary scrutiny and control.