Union chief attacks privatised services

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John Edmonds, general secretary of the GMB union, told MPs how the involvement of private companies in public services had damaged the quality of his life which, he said, explained why he opposed Public Private Partnerships.

Since refuse services had been contracted out by local authorities under Conservative reforms, residents on his street in Mitcham, south-west London, now had to buy their own bin bags and carry them out to the street, Mr Edmonds said.

And his enjoyment of the local park had been ruined by the abolition of wardens. He complained that the grass was no longer cleared of litter.

Mr Edmonds's tirade reflected his consistent opposition to the Government's Public Private Partnership policy.

Speaking to the Public Administration Select Committee, Mr Edmonds said there were "hundreds" of examples of failed private contracts and private finance deals, and warned that the ethos of public service was incompatible with generating profits.

He added: "The experience of the introduction of the private sector into public services has been dire. There is a poor record of quality and a tendency to drive down employment standards when the private sector has come in.

"The Private Finance Initiative project is very bad value for money for the Government, for the people of this country and for patients, students and other users of public services."

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