New Briefing Document: Public Enterprise versus Private Inefficiency

The Trade Union Left Forum has put this brief guide, available at, for union activists to use in combating commonly used arguments in favour of privatisation and against public ownership. There is mounting evidence of the value of public-sector investment, compared with the inefficiency and waste of private-led investment; yet this is silenced by the privately owned media, just as they call into question the right of communities to peacefully resist the imposition of water charges.

We have all had arguments with a friend or colleague where the claim of the efficiency of the market is made, that competition is good for customers, without anything to substantiate it. Or we have sat angrily on a Sunday morning listening to radio commentators boldly say that private enterprise is superior to public, that privatisation provides savings for customers, or that the state benefits from the sale of public companies, without ever having to provide any evidence to support this highly political statement.

This guide is to help activists with short facts and figures to help you to combat these arguments, or to send tweets, texts or e-mail to the media so as to raise public awareness of the damage privatisation does and the great value that public ownership brings and can bring to our economy.

So, next time you’re in a pub with mates, or listening to a current affairs programme or being canvassed for a vote and you hear one of these false claims being made, don’t stay silent: use the evidence in this guide to counter their claims.

We hope you find this useful, and please distribute it as far and wide as possible.

Jimmy Nolan

Chairperson, Trade Union Left Forum