We can undo privatisation. And it won’t cost us a penny | The Guardian

by Faiz Ahmed last modified 2018-01-09T16:46:31-04:00
"[O]nce owned publicly, the newly nationalised industries will once again be subject to the Treasury’s borrowing limits. If there are spending cuts, their capital investment programmes will be cut. What voters want is the best of both worlds. Public services run as public services, but with all the dynamism and autonomy of being in the private sector, not least being able to borrow for vital investment. ... The government should create a new category of company – the public benefit company (PBC) – which would write into its constitution that its purpose is the delivery of public benefit to which profit-making is subordinate. ... The next step would be to take a foundation share in each privatised utility as a condition of its licence to operate, requiring the utility to reincorporate as a public-benefit company. ... Because the companies would remain owned by private shareholders, their borrowing would not be classed as public debt. The existing shareholders in the utility would remain shareholders, and their rights to votes and dividends would remain unimpaired. So there would be no need to compensate them – no need, in short to pay £170bn buying the assets back. Indeed, the scope to borrow could be used to fund a wave of new investment in our utilities. ... The aim would be to combine the best of both the public and private sectors. If companies do not deliver what they have promised, there should be a well-defined system of escalating penalties, starting with the right to sue companies and ending with taking all the assets into public ownership if a company persistently neglected its obligations. But the cost would be very much lower, because the share price would fall as it became clear it was operating illegally."
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