Public Services > Central Government

Green Party targets public sector competition and outsourcing

David Bicknell Published 23 April 2015

Manifesto would immediately increase overall NHS budget by £12bn, end market based commissioning and procurement, repeal Health and Social Care act and abolish PCCs

Green Party

The Green Party's manifesto for the General Election is strongly anti-privatisation and outsourcing, and anti-austerity.

On the NHS, it would repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012, and introduce an NHS Reinstatement Bill.

It also plans to:

  • abolish competition and the purchaser-provider split,
  • end market-based commissioning and procurement, and
  • restrict the role of commercial companies
  • stop further private finance initiative (PFI) contracts and end the inappropriate sale of NHS assets.
  • seek ways to buy out existing PFI contracts where that would represent good value for money, and set aside up to £5 billion over the Parliament to do so.

The manifesto argues that the UK spends 9.6% of GDP on health (including private healthcare) compared with the French (11.7%), the Germans (11.5%) and the USA (17.6%)

The party therefore plans to immediately increase the overall NHS budget by £12bn a year to overcome the current funding crisis, and then increase the overall NHS budget annually in real terms by 1.2% to take account of the ageing population. Together, this will raise NHS budgets by about £20bn by 2020, the party says. The extra funding proposed for the NHS and social care would also create 400,000 jobs.

The Green Party says it accepts that efficiency in public services does matter, provided it is not at the cost of poor service or exploitation of staff. It expects to find "very modest savings" of 0.3% over 50% of the government's operations each successive year.

In local government, the party plans to provide a £10bn a year uplift in local authority budgets "to allow local authorities to restore essential local services" and plans to restore local authority control over education, with full delegation of the appropriate budgets.

On policing, in common with some other political manifestos, the party says it would abolish Police and Crime Commissioners, and "return control of the police to local government."

On digital rights, the party says it wants a transparent state, with "control over the data that our digital lives create. We need copyright laws that reward creators but that are consistent with digital technologies. Above all we want democratic political control of this technology. We would consider combining elements of the policies into a comprehensive Digital Bill of Rights."

Responding to the manifesto's criticism of outsourcing, the National Outsourcing Association's (NOA) chief executive Kerry Hallard said: "The UK public sector is the second largest public sector market in the world, providing a huge number of services all within ever decreasing budgets. Outsourcing to the private sector has allowed the government to deliver the majority of these services on time and frequently to a higher quality than could have been achieved otherwise.

"The benefits of outsourcing are not mere 'dogma' - they are proven and entirely logical. Organisations outsource non-core services to third-party specialists who can do them better and cheaper, allowing the organisation to focus on what is core to its business. We suggest that the government is better served governing the country, rather than running IT, payroll, accounts, customer service centres and so on - leave that to the industry experts."

She added, "The Green Party claims that it will 'treat citizens as grown-ups, capable of recognising the common good and acting on it'. Truly treating UK citizens as 'grown-ups' would mean allowing them to recognise the benefits of outsourcing for themselves, rather than glossing over the subject with vague rhetoric."

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