Politics & Economics

Serco pays dividends with taxpayer money

11 March 2021
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Major government contractor Serco has announced a bumper £17m in dividends on £150m in profits, the first distribution to shareholders in seven years. This comes during a national pandemic, and Serco have directly benefited from the crisis. Its profits have almost doubled as a result of lucrative government contracts, including the establishment of the widely derided “NHS Test and Trace” system. 

Serco is one of a number of capitalist parasites making profits from the death and misery of the pandemic. The £400m revenue reportedly generated by Serco is a result of coronavirus-related contracts paid from the public purse. Under no circumstances should this money line the pockets of private shareholders! 

This sordid affair reveals the depravity of the Tories’ ideological drive to outsource key public services to profit-driven private enterprises. Organisations are incentivised to cut corners and find “efficiencies” according to the profit motive, resulting in public services unfit for purpose. Any savings generated as a result of such cost-cutting measures are not returned to the taxpayer but taken as profit. As a result, taxpayer money which could be used to bolster the NHS during this crisis is being leached from the system into the hands of wealthy investors.

To add insult to injury, the test-and-trace system developed by Serco has been afflicted with  myriad problems since its inception. The system is inaccessible for vast swathes of the UK population, when it works at all. Serco should be penalised for this failure, not rewarded. Lessons must be learned from this experience. We must take back our public services from the vultures of private finance capital and put public good, not private profit, at the centre of their provision.

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