Private finance initiative: Why Our MP Changed His Mind

WAKEFIELD SOCIALIST Party has been campaigning for six years against PFI in the new Wakefield hospital development and in the NHS nationally. We have petitioned and lobbied Wakefield’s MP David Hinchcliffe, chair of the Commons select committee for health.

Mick Griffiths, Wakefield and Pontefract Hospitals UNISON and Wakefield Socialist Party

Now in an introduction to the latest Catalyst think tank report Public Services and the Private Sector, Hinchcliffe writes: “We need to bring about a complete separation of the NHS from the private sector, for the sake of preserving and developing the system of collectivised health care that the majority of the British public remain committed to.”

As recently as the June 2001 general election campaign, Hinchcliffe was still arguing that if a private financed deal was the only way to get a new hospital in Wakefield then we’d have to accept it!

We wholeheartedly endorse what Hinchcliffe says now. We must keep up the pressure to ensure that the Health Select Committee investigation actually leads to the forced removal of the private sector from public services.

A survey by Yorkshire and Humberside region of UNISON said that regional MPs, reflecting public opinion, overwhelmingly oppose privatisation. UNISON’s regional secretary claims there’s potential for a backbench rebellion on the issue!

Professor Allyson Pollock, one of the Catalyst report authors, has also produced several UNISON-commissioned reports forcefully putting the case against PFI.

Our branch has also commissioned one. Unlike previous reports which appeared after the event, ours is to be produced at a crucial time, during the negotiations. Management are bending over backwards to try and deliver an in-house best value preferred bid for certain support service provisions.

Hinchcliffe says we are in danger of a long-term take-over by powerful private sector interests, but the tide is starting to turn in our favour.

We must now gear up the anti-privatisation campaign locally and nationally. Drawing on each others’ experiences and networking together, we can build a national campaigning strategy to force out the private parasites once and for all.



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