Finance Friday | devaluing people
A few years ago, the refuse collection service where I live was put out to tender. One of those big ‘outsourcing’ companies won the 300 million pound contract. They now collect refuse, a wheelie bin for recycling, a bin for garden waste in summer, a bin for a kitchen waste and a bin that is supposed to be kept in the kitchen for waste too. The staff got a pay cut when it was all reorganised and that wasn’t the only council service to be outsourced.
It all looks so much more efficient and they say over the length of the 30 year contract, the council will save money. I think the refuse collectors have been devalued and have less pride in their work. This happens in other areas too. Security at the Olympics was outsourced, the running of prisons, car parks, assessing benefit claimants and many other local and national government services. I read that the total value of these contracts will be worth 100 billion pounds in a few years time. They’re not doing it out of the kindness of their hearts then. No, the likes of Serco, G4S and Atos Healthcare are out to make a profit. The outsourcing companies are running hospitals, healthcare, caring in the community, prisons, police services, old folks homes and child care. Everywhere there are vulnerable people who need care and support and where you find them; you find the outsourcing companies. They appear to circle like vultures around he weak and needy. I’m surprised they’re not running homeless hostels and food banks. Maybe they are…
The problem is when they pay minimum wages, their employees, apart from losing a lot of self respect, also don’t have enough money to live and support their families. They have to claim tax credits, housing benefit, council tax benefit and in some cases disabled living allowance. Is it any surprise that the cost of these benefits spiralled out of control as the government gave benefits to people to support the activities of these outsourcing companies. The more local and national government outsources, the worse the problem gets and so the government responds by cutting benefits. Even people with a spare bedroom now will have their housing benefit cut.
You find your gran or some other elderly relative is in hospital or a care home and needs their welfare to be sensitively administered to by a caring nurse or care worker and you find that budgets and profits are more important than people’s needs. One day the Prime Minister throws his arms up in disgust at the culture of profits and budget restraints that led to old people suffering and dying at Stafford General Hospital. The next day he makes excuses for the so called bedroom tax, describing it as ‘fair’. People will have to give up their homes, their friends and their neighbours because their child has left home. What next? People on housing benefits borrowing a child to put in their spare bedrooms? Recent revelations appears to suggest many MPs in the past, have welcomed children into their bedrooms at a guest house, where they rented rooms by the hour.
The most vulnerable in society are under attack by politicians of all colours and by big business. Whether a pay day loan company or an outsourcing company, they appear to be similar parasites to me. That is just my perception of what is going on. What about you or have you buried your head in the sand so far, you see nothing, but your own and what’s yours?
Please comment and share your views.