Keep quality and open up public services: CBI

<KENOX S630  / Samsung S630> A UK-wide CBI report has claimed that opening up public services to independent providers could maintain quality and save £22.6 billion from public spending by 2017.

The Open Access report said that the deficit and demographics were two key reasons for delivering essential services at lower costs. It found that average cost savings of 11 per cent could be made by opening up services in 20 sectors to competition.

Applying the same principles and calculations across the estimated £278 billion value of public services, which the CBI believes could feasibly be fully opened up, would deliver savings of £22.6 billion.

“Most public services are still largely state monopolised and it’s time to open some of them to competition,” said CBI Director-General John Cridland. “That is the way to maintain quality and achieve billions of pounds worth of savings. That isn’t to say the private sector should do everything but take school dinners: Is it really necessary for three-quarters of all our schools to be worrying about catering?”

Open Access also identifies the management of social housing, waste services and facilities management in hospitals, schools and prisons as potential sectors for more external delivery.

Cridland acknowledged that there were “justified concerns following recent high-profile failings” in outsourced services and that businesses “have to work hard to maintain public trust by consistently delivering high quality services.”

Research from the Trades Union Congress and ICTU, though, suggests that replacing middle income public sector jobs with lower paid private sector jobs has resulted in a sharp reduction in wages across the UK over the last year.

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