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Public ownership

Labour will bring railways, the Royal Mail, the utilities and energy supply back under public ownership. Labour will introduce free high-speed broadband across Britain. Labour will invest in culture– libraries, museums and galleries across the country.

 

Privatisation makes no sense

  • Private ownership in water, rail and energy that began under Thatcher has been a rip-off for customers, sending costs up and quality down.
  • Since privatisation, water bills have gone up by 40% and rail fares by 24%.
  • Every week, we waste millions on the extra cost of privatisation:
    • Rail – £19 million a week
    • Buses – £9.7 million a week
    • Water – £44 million a week
    • Energy – £61 million a week
  • Privatisation makes these services wasteful, inefficient, fragmented and unaccountable.
  • The government can borrow money more cheaply than the private sector.
  • Workers in privatised or outsourced industries get lower pay and worse conditions.
  • Private companies prioritise making a profit, not caring for people. They pay billions in dividends to their shareholders, driving costs up and ignoring users in rural areas.
  • In the last five years, companies owning our energy networks have paid out almost £12bn in dividends to shareholders, and made billions of pounds of unjustified profits.
  • A huge amount of network investment is needed in the coming decades for a transition to green energy. However, network companies have been repeatedly criticised – including in the Cost of Energy Review – for prioritising dividend extraction over investment into infrastructure upgrades.
  • Britain ranks 35 out of 37 nations analysed by the OECD for broadband connectivity.
  • Only 1 in 12 premises in Britain have access to full-fibre connections (capable of delivering speeds greater than 1 gigabit per second). In Spain, 7 in 10 and in South Korea everyone has full access.

 

Labour’s plan for public ownership:
  • Railways, the Royal Mail, the water and energy grid will be wholly or partly renationalised.
  • Bring bus networks into public ownership, increase and expand local services, free bus travel for under-25s, reinstate the 3,000 routes that have been cut.
  • Bring rail networks back into public ownership. Fares will be cheaper and journeys simpler and less fragmented. A publicly owned rail company will reinvest profits in improving the service.
  • Bring energy networks into public ownership. This will stop customers paying huge amounts for dividend payouts and take the strategic control necessary to decarbonise our energy system.
  • Create a National Energy Agency and 14 Regional Energy Agencies on the institutional base These will own, maintain and run system operation of the distribution networks.
  • Establish British Broadband, with two arms: British Digital Infrastructure (BDI) and the British Broadband Service (BBS). Partially renationalise BT, deliver full-fibre networks for free broadband.
  • £1bn Cultural Capital Fund to transform libraries, museums and galleries across the country.

 

Will it work?

  • Publicly owned Scottish Water is the most trusted utility company in the UK.
  • Councils are already insourcing local public services from waste to social care. Over 3 out of 4 UK councils are planning to bring services back in house this year.
  • Nationalisation is incredibly popular! Most people think public services should be in public control. Polling shows 83% support for public ownership in water, 77% for energy, 76% for railways and 65% for Royal Mail.

 

We can pay for it!

  • Nationalising water, energy grids and the Royal Mail would save UK households £7.8bn a year and pay for itself within seven years.
  • Compensation is not as high as some have claimed. If shareholder compensation is limited to the amount they have invested in utilities, rather than paying out a “market value”, the total cost of compensation to private sector owners would be just £49.7bn. This is just a quarter of the £196bn figure calculated by the CBI.
  • Free broadband would be funded by properly taxing internet giants that depend on download speeds.

Labour’s Manifesto: Bitesized

Labour has a plan to transform Britain. Let us fill you in on the details.

Work, justice, migration, equality

Education

The NHS and care

Public ownership

Green industrial revolution

Economy for the many

Brexit

Internationalism

Housing

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