2 thoughts on “Chileans oppose pensions privatisation

  1. Tuesday 23rd August 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    Whether you look at our bus or rail systems, the pattern is clear – worsening services and rocketing fares. NEIL CLARK points to where the blame lies

    LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn could not have picked a better week to highlight the problems facing British public transport users and the disastrous impact of privatisation on rail and bus travel.New research from the TUC and Action for Rail has revealed that the cost of a train ticket has gone up by around 25 per cent since 2010 — that’s more than twice the rise in wages.
    Now if commuters were getting a vastly improved service, with super-comfortable seats, nice dining cars and trains running to the minute, then perhaps such ticket price hikes could be justified. But in fact, services are deteriorating. In July, figures from the Department for Transport, revealed that one in three commuters — equivalent to 100,000 people — were forced to stand on trains coming into London last year.

    As TUC general secretary Frances O’ Grady correctly pointed out: “Passengers are paying more and getting even less.” It’s the same story of “more for less” on the buses.
    Last week marked the 30th anniversary of the start of bus privatisation in the 1980s when Devon National became the first sell-off under the Tories’ 1985 Transport Act.
    The Tories’ aim was to break up the successful state-owned (and Labour government-created) National Bus Company, whose regional subsidiaries ran local and county services, as well as to sell off the state-owned long-distance carrier National Express and its subsidiary National Holidays.
    Supporters of privatisation said that breaking up the state-owned companies would help increase competition, lower fares and increase passenger numbers.
    But guess what? The very opposite happened. Fares rose sharply, and passenger numbers fell dramatically.
    The record number of bus journeys in Britain was actually recorded in 1984, one year before Thatcher’s Transport Act.
    There was a steady fall in passenger numbers for the first seven years following privatisation. In some regions outside of London, the cuts in services have been horrendous. Since 1985-6, the number of bus journeys in north-east England has fallen by 57 per cent, in Yorkshire and the Humber by 54 per cent.
    In the year to end March 2015, local bus journeys fell by 27 million. Yet this didn’t make front page news.
    At the same time that services have been cut, fares have rocketed. According to Department for Transport figures, local bus fares in England rose by 61 per cent on average between 2005 and 2015. Did you get a 61 per cent pay rise in the same period? No, me neither.
    Instead of the cut-throat competition which we were promised would arrive post-privatisation and which would be good for passengers, we soon got an industry dominated by a few players — the so-called “Big Five.”
    The system we’ve currently got is the worst of all possible worlds, one which can’t please either genuine free marketers or supporters of public ownership.
    Privately owned bus companies (or companies owned by state-owned transport companies from other countries like Arriva, whose parent is DeutscheBahn) keep hitting us with above-inflation rises in bus fares while at the same time receiving extremely generous handouts from the British taxpayer.
    In 2014-5 the estimated total net support paid from public funds to the bus operators was £2.21 billion, up from £2.19bn in 2012-3.
    As with the railways, bus privatisation has delivered welfare socialism for the rich, and capitalism for the poor.
    We recently learned that train privateers had raked in £222 million in dividends in the last year alone — a rise of 21 per cent.
    It’s a similar story with the bus operators — the biggest of which also run train services.
    Go-Ahead saw its profits for the second half of 2015 rise 17 per cent to £52.1m.
    In 2014, the company saw a 44.5 per cent leap in yearly profits.
    Stagecoach, another of the Big Five, did announce a 37 per cent fall in pre-tax profits for the year ending April 2016, but profits were still a sizeable £104.4m.
    British bus users and taxpayers are being ripped off on a major scale — and it’s not hard to see where the money’s going.
    In the circumstances it’s good to see that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is talking about the need for urgent reforms in bus transport, as well as on the railways. On “Transport Tuesday” last week, Corbyn pledged that under his leadership, the next Labour government would “enable local authorities to have franchising powers over their bus networks and enable all local authorities to establish municipal bus companies.”
    At long last, a leading politician is talking about buses and the fix we’re in.
    We know that any moves towards remunicipalisation, or renationalisation, will be fiercely opposed by the Big Five which do so well out of the present system.
    In May, it was reported that the Go-Ahead group was to challenge the government’s very modest proposals in the Bus Services Bill, which would give elected mayors of big urban regions the same “command and control” powers over bus services as the mayor of London and TfL.
    But in the interests of bus users and taxpayers, the status quo can’t be allowed to continue.
    The benefit to both our economy and society of having a fully integrated, affordable and reliable system of public transport cannot be understated.
    Bus services provide a lifeline to many people, particularly the elderly and those living in rural areas. Higher fares and reduced services impact most heavily on the poor and those on average or below-average incomes.
    It’s the less well-off who have been hardest hit by privatisation, while the current system has helped the super-rich to get even richer.
    Any Labour government genuinely committed to building a fairer Britain must put the bringing of rail and bus transport back into public ownership at the top of its agenda.
    And how will it all be paid for? Well, if we scrapped HS2, a hideously expensive £55bn plus project whose main beneficiaries will be the rich and the business elite, money really wouldn’t be an issue. Let’s have a transport system which serves the interests of the many and not the few. We haven’t had that since privatisation began in the 1980s. Neil Clark is director of the Campaign for Public Ownership (@PublicOwnership). You can follow him on Twitter @NeilClark66.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-87ba-How-privatisation-has-failed-Britains-travelling-public#.V7zFrTWZ0dU

  2. If it is in Chile like it is in the U.S. this will just be another scam by the federal politicians and their biggest business donors to such up and steal that money.

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