Last year the charity War On Want produced a report titled “G4S: Securing profits, globalising injustice“: that is, the same G4S that is currently colonising our criminal justice system in the most heinous manner.
War On Want’s succinct and highly timely briefing revealed how G4S’s role in the privatisation of British government services has already “led to a trail of financial and human rights abuses.”
“And while directors and shareholders reap rich rewards” from such contracts, the report continues, “G4S workers suffer deteriorating working conditions and violations of their rights.”
My stomach turned when I read that since last month G4S has become the employer of all the civilian detention officers at Leicestershire police force’s four custody suites – at Keyham Lane, Euston Street, Beaumont Leys and Wigston police stations (November 4, Leicester Mercury).
Unison points out: “People want their police service to be crime fighters not profit makers.” So it is horrifying to realise that G4S have already been profiting from crime for some time, because as the Mercury reported, in 2012 G4S “agreed a £200 million, 10-year contract with Lincolnshire police”.
Now, in the name of austerity, we are told that a “proposal to merge Leicestershire Police’s 999 control room with neighbouring forces in Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire – and outsource it to private security firm G4S – is to be considered as a way of saving money” (November 4, Mercury).
Funding for the police, like fire services for instance, is being removed at a truly alarming rate. Hundreds of police have already been laid off, and next months Comprehensive Spending Review “is expected to recommend cuts of 25 per cent to 40 per cent of the force’s annual £170 million budget”. If that isn’t a crime then what is?
Cuts of an all together different nature fall upon powerful corporations like G4S.
Earlier this year the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation wrote a policy briefing called “A British lesson in corporate income tax” which, with awed breathlessness, reported how since 2010 the British public have been treated to “five years of intensive reforms, including a gradual cut in the statutory corporation tax rate from 28 to 20% and other interventions aimed at reducing the cost of capital…”
Little wonder that G4S’s CEO, Ashley Almanza, serves as an corporate advisor to this elite Centre committed to the profitable business of fighting taxation.
The Centre’s report focused on one apparently positive feature of such regressive changes in taxation regimes, and this was that “The UK tax system is now very attractive for international companies, in particular for their headquarters and for companies with intangible assets.”
Speculating on what might happen if the Tories ended up winning the General Election, the report concluded that in order “to maintain competitiveness,” the Tories “could cut the statutory corporation tax rate even further.” Adding that “Some large companies already propose a rate of 15%”.
So it goes! Corporations lobby to lower corporate tax rates, so the money they save can be used to privatise our public services.
Simultaneously public services and benefit payments are slashed, and their guardianship is handed over to private corporations who, to their core, despise contributing towards the public good. Little wonder that so many people are disallusioned with politics.
This letter was emailed to the Leicester Mercury on November 4, 2015. A slightly shorter version was published on November 10 as “Preying on our public services.”
Read my earlier article “Ejecting G4S From Leicester Schools,” October 7, 2012.