This all stinks to high heaven

Coalition ministers have gone mad on privatisation while making a mint for their rich cronies.

Virgin Trains and Stagecoach won the franchise for the East Coast main line, which has delivered a £235m profit since it was returned to public ownership in 2009.

In short, it has been penalised for bringing the line into profit while privatised operators have been heavily subsidised and then sent their profits mainly abroad. What sense does that make?

Once again government steams ahead with its ideological attack on the public sector.

We have also seen the bargain basement sale of Royal Mail threatening the concept of universal postal services.

Union campaigners pointed out that “the rapid rise of unregulated postal competition is threatening the future sustainability of the UK’s universal postal service”.

But perhaps the most sickening example is the coalition’s injection of “market forces” – or backdoor privatisation – into our NHS.

A report by the New Economics Foundation found that the so-called ‘reforms’ are draining enough cash each year to fund 175,000 nurses or ten new hospitals.

In England, alone the cost is £4.5bn, and rising every minute.

What makes this even more sinister is the fact, uncovered by the Unite general union, that 71 coalition MPs have links to private healthcare companies or bodies.

I raised this in the House, asking ministers what they were taking money for? Of course, I got nothing back but waffle.

Of those taking cash, 64 are Tories and seven are Liberal Democrats, and they include past and present health secretaries.

Current health secretary Jeremy Hunt received two donations to his constituency office from hedge fund boss Andrew Law, who has donated over £600,000 to the Tories and whose firm holds multi-million pound healthcare investments.

This is a staggering conflict of interest. Scores of coalition MPs who voted for the NHS sell-off had links to the very private healthcare companies, which are profiting from it.

The whole thing stinks to high heaven.