Chris Williamson has been on Russia Today (where else?) lambasting the government for outsourcing to private firms. The Corbynista favourite said that ‘public services are being used as a cash cow to generate private profit’ – and, in the wake of the collapse of Carillion, it was time to ‘remove the private sector from all public services’. He went on to say:
‘The way in which the privateers make their margins is by screwing down the workforce that they employ, cutting back on their terms and conditions and diminishing the quality of service to the general public.’
But Mr S notes that Williamson has not always been so opposed to private firms getting taxpayers’ money for taking on contracts. During his time as leader of Derby City Council, Williamson hailed a new service run by Capita. Indeed, Williamson was full of praise for the outsourcing giant, saying:
'Having worked with Capita for over ten years...we were confident that they could deliver the IT platform to take advantage of future developments such as mobile working and the shared services approach. Capita was also able to work very closely with our revenue and benefits team to ensure the implementation caused minimal disruption to the existing service.'
So what has changed? Mr S asked Williamson to explain, and the answer isn’t much of a shock: it was all Blair’s fault: ‘Regrettably, outsourcing was a key policy of the New Labour Government. As council leader, the scope to reverse this trend was virtually impossible, especially given Blair and Brown's command and control style of running the party,’ he told Mr S. No surprises there...