Tory incompetence has cost the country billions - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Martin Hemingway, Leeds.

We are faced with a cost of living crisis that has a number of causes.

Not highlighted sufficiently is the extent to which the incompetence of Conservative governments has contributed to this.

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At the moment we are facing a crisis in our rivers – one of water quality, another to do with flooding and water management.

Boris Johnson.

Thirty years ago the water companies were privatised.

At the time they were investing £2.9bn a year, now it is £2.4bn a year – inflation alone makes a nonsense of this.

At the time of privatisation the companies had no debt, now they have £53bn of debt.

And what has the money been used for?

Over the time period the companies have paid out £72bn in dividends.

They have borrowed on the security of assets developed at public expense and given themselves that money, and then taken another £19bn that should have been invested in their function out for distribution.

Nationalisation without compensation will still leave us £53bn out of pocket, with billions needed to repair the damage that has accumulated.

More recently, the current government spent £38bn on ‘test and trace’.

The Germans, with their larger population, spent £1bn.

Is it unfair to ask where the other £37bn has gone?

The Yorkshire Post tells us (April 27) that another £17bn in Covid-related frauds and unjustified loans will never be paid back.

This is all money that could be relieving the cost of living crisis – and it has been wasted by the profligacy of Conservative governments.

Now we are faced with a Prime Minister threatening the Passport Office, understaffed as a result of underfunding, with privatisation.

What the costs will be to us are only to speculate about, but I suspect there will be some fat cats licking the cream while the rest of us just keep pouring them more.

Private companies are there for profit, public companies for public service.

Some functions require public ownership, the water that we drink and paddle in and want to keep from the door; the systems that ensure health; the security of our passport system, and, of course, our energy supplies are just a few of them.