MPs to call for more public control of public sector services

Social enterprises, mutuals and public sector organisations should have priority in the tendering process and public sector contractors be forced to publish their accounts and respond to Freedom of Information requests according to a new Private Members Bill.

The Bill, which launches tomorrow, proposes making public ownership the default option for public services and give the public a say over whether services are contracted out. They should also have the right to recall private companies running public services poorly.

It is being led by Brighton Pavilion Green MP Caroline Lucas and is supported by Labour MPs Katy Clark, John McDonnell and Grahame Morris, Liberal Democrat MP John Leech and Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd.

Llwyd, the MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, said: ""Public opinion is strongly on the side of this Bill, and so is the evidence. Public ownership needs to be the default option, outsourcing companies must be held to account and privatisation shouldn't go ahead unless the public supports it. I'm very pleased to back this initiative."

According to a survey of 1006 people conducted by public ownership campaign We Own It last year, 88 per cent of respondents thought there should be a right to recall private companies doing a bad job and the same percentage believed public services contracts should be transparent about their performance and financial data. And 79 per cent believed the public should be consulted before any service is outsourced.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said that public ownership could deliver high-quality cost-efficient services.

"The publicly owned East Coast line, for example, delivered over £200 million back to the taxpayer last year. Councils are starting to bring services back in house, because it’s more cost-efficient. "

Private Members Bills are rarely passed into law but can influence legislation by bringing attention to issues.


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