Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Tories' privatisation agenda out of touch: UNISON

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Publicly funded hospitals and schools are still vote clinchers, and the Tories' privatisation agenda is out of touch with voters, according to a survey conducted for UNISON.

Despite worries about the economy, how the Government runs our hospitals is still at the top of people’s lists in deciding how to vote at the next general election. The results of the survey show the Tories latest plans for the public services are out of touch with public opinion. Their so-called “reform” of public services is nothing but thinly-disguised “privatisation”.

In an Ipsos MORI survey conducted for UNISON, 96% say the NHS will be an important factor in deciding how they vote at the next general election. This compares to the economy (important for 93%), crime (92%), public services (85%), schools (85%) and Britain’s relationship with Europe (70%).

The NHS is highly prized by the public with 76% believing it is crucial to British society and “we must do everything to maintain it”. Only 22% think that it “was a great project, but we probably can’t maintain it in its current form”.

Three-quarters of the public (75%) believe the NHS should be “run by the public sector to encourage a joined-up service”, with little support (21%) for it to be “run by the private sector to encourage competition” 78% believe that the health service should be run by the Government and public organisations, rather than by private companies and 73% agreed that people who provide health services should be employed by the NHS rather than by private companies.

UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said: “Although the economy is clearly a worry for many people, this polling shows the massive support that our NHS and public services have amongst the public. They don’t want them privatised, there is no appetite for competition in the services nor for profit-chasing. People have shown what we have always argued that most want good local schools and hospitals provide by dedicated public servants.

“The Tories are completely out of kilter with public opinion. Shadow Chancellor Osborne’s claims to have “progressive” ideas are nothing but cheap window-dressing.

“The Government should take note. If it is to have any chance of re-election next year, it must listen to what the people want.”

Ipsos MORI interviewed a sample of 1,001 British adults, plus a booster of 251 public sector workers, all age 18 and over by telephone between 12-14 June 2009. Data are weighted to the profile of the adult population 18+, and include a weight for public vs. private sector workers. The final weighted data indicate that 17% belong to a trade union.

The survey found that public sector workers have similar views to the general population.

Factors which will be important for public sector workers in deciding how to vote in the next general election are: the NHS (important for 96%); the economy (95%); crime (92%); public services (90%); schools (90%); Britain’s relationship with Europe (73%). 77% believe the NHS is crucial to British society; 81% believe it should be run by the public sector to encourage a joined-up service; 86% think that the NHS should be run by the Government not private companies and 79% agree that people providing health services should be employed by the NHS rather than by private companies.


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