"Increasingly we're seeing different ways public ownership can deliver high-quality, cost-efficient services. The publicly owned east coast line, for example, delivered over £200m back to the taxpayer last year"
Caroline Lucas, MP
Do the NHS, the railways or our schools exist to generate profits for private investors? Or are they meant to meet the needs of patients, commuters and school children?
The answer should be obvious.
- Public services in public hands
But since the 1980s – under both the Tories and Labour – we’ve seen more and more areas of public life put up for sale, with money diverted from the frontline to shareholders.
We were told it was for our own good. Competition would drive down prices and improve services. Rolling back the state would reduce the burden on the taxpayer.
But all too often the opposite has been true.
Great train robbery
Take rail travel. We’re paying some of the highest fares in Europe to stand in some of the most overcrowded and unreliable trains. And, incredibly, the bill to the taxpayer for running the railways has actually increased since privatisation.
Not surprisingly, people have started to question the 'private is best' dogma.
Six in ten people now believe public ownership of our services should be the default option.
But instead of learning from the disaster of rail privatisation, the government is heedlessly ploughing on: contracting out crucial areas of the NHS and putting more of our state education system in private hands with its academy schools.
Caroline is stepping up the fight for our public services.
Public Services Users Bill
Inspired by the We Own It campaign, she has put forward a new Public Services Users Bill which would:
- make public ownership the default option before any service is sold off
- ensure people are asked – and genuinely listened to – before any service is put out to tender
- give the public a right to recall private companies if they’re running our services poorly
- make private companies running public services more transparent
Public ownership of our railways
It is time for the coalition to admit that privatisation has failed on every count.
Caroline wants to put the railways back in public hands. This would save taxpayers more than £1 billion a year and lead to lower fares and better services.
- Launched a Railways Bill to bring the railway network back into public ownership
- Tabled a motion opposing the government’s backing for French and German control of the new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise
- Organised a formal petition from constituents to Parliament against high fares, delays and unreliable services provided by First Capital Connect and Southern
- Backed the campaign for a direct rail link between Brighton and London
Protecting the NHS
Caroline is passionate about protecting our health service.
- One of the first to back the NHS Reinstatement Bill which would see the re-establishment of public bodies and restoration of NHS in England as an accountable public service
- Helped challenge the Secretary of State being allowed to close down local hospitals without local people having a say
- Campaigned to keep local health services out of private hands
Standing up for our schools
We need an education system where everyone gets the same fair chance. That puts the hopes and dreams of young people centre stage and where schools are accountable to parents, teachers and local authorities.
- Voted against the Academies Bill in parliament
- Took local teachers concerns directly to the Minister with a debate about Brighton and Hove’s schools
- Campaigned alongside parents and teachers to keep Hove Park school from becoming an academy