The real cost of privatisation

BACK IN 2000, the government ordered Southwark council to bring in a “private education provider” after a critical report on the council’s education. They did just that – they signed a contract for £100 million with engineering company WS Atkins.

Last March Southwark’s head teachers wrote to the Department for Education (DfES) saying they had no confidence in Atkins. Atkins later said it was withdrawing from the contract. Now it has all gone disastrously wrong, the DfES are trying to force Southwark council to pay £1.5 million to cover the cost of the aborted contract.

Obviously the government thinks the woes of failing capitalists are more important than those of failing schools. Southwark are being asked to pay three-quarters of the costs of replacing these useless privatisers. This will inevitably mean cutting into already dangerously pruned finances.

Catastrophes like this will certainly make councils think twice before going in for privatisation deals.