Is the state pension about to be privatised?

This is truly alarming. The privatised and semi-privatised sectors of the civil service have a history of expensive failure, almost from the very beginning when Maggie Thatcher’s and John Major’s administrations first started putting them out to tender for the private sector. Regular government contractors like G4S, Serco, C(r)apita and the rest regular complete tasks well over budget and over time. Quite often the PFI projects in which they’ve been involved have only been completed through a fresh injection of government funding. When this started, at first with contracts for IT services by various councils and other government departments, Private Eye carried one story after another of yet another dismal failure, each one rewarded with yet another contract to the company responsible, assisted by local councillors, civil servants and ministers sitting on the boards of those companies, or joining them soon after. And I can remember being very unimpressed when Major’s government privatised the collection department of the Inland Revenue. And yes, Barclays were very enthusiastic about doing that. With the firms mentioned above responsible for the delivery of essential benefits, you can expect them to come late, miscalculated, or absent, due to yet another administrative failure, or be billed for excess payments you’ve never had. You may even – God help you – find yourself in the awkward position of receiving someone’s benefit by mistake. As for the government’s position that this will all be done much more cheaply than the state can do it, this is another lie from a government that can’t find the truth with both hands. What will happen is that G4S, Serco, Atos, sorry, OH Assist or whatever lot of corporate cowboys with a complete lack of morals and expertise that would put Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses to shame, will put in deliberately low bids. Once they have won the contract, the expense will inflate massively, as, er, new problems were found that require sorting out, um, which weren’t foreseen in the original estimate, hum, ha, keep fingers crossed and hope the mugs get it. The actual work will be done, as usual, by underpaid, overworked drones treated with contempt and derision by the corporate suits, who will award themselves massive bonuses under the pretence of ‘performance related pay’. They will then justify these rises by saying that they were the reward for sorting out the company’s problems. Hum, ha, cross fingers and hope the mugs get it. They will then get another contract with the government, and will then issue more PR guff about efficiency, transparency, good business practice, and all the rest of it.

Mike Sivier's blog


The DWP could be about to privatise delivery of the state pension, according to a leaked report. Many may have missed this revelation because of today’s other, more high-profile events.

According to The Guardian, the Department for Work and Pensions is struggling to meet the demand for savings being placed on it by the government; the plan is to slash its operational spending from £9 billion per year in 2009 to £6.3 billion by 2016. This means a £1 billion cut in the 2014-15 financial year.

A leaked report entitled DWP Efficiency Review claims one way of doing this would involve “a review of the pension service’s current delivery model and alternative delivery models” – in other words, privatisation.

The money would still come from the taxpayer but a private company would deliver it to pensioners.

What could possibly go wrong with that idea? After all, involving private companies in…

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