Unite's interesting little report on NHS privatisation and tax


Unite, the union, has released a small little reportette on the tax positions of those firms that either have or are bidding for contracts to deliver health care services to the NHS. The so called "privatisation" of the NHS. Apparently it would be very bad if people who provided these services did not pay lots of tax. You know, in the manner that the NHS itself pays lots of tax. Given that the report is written by Richard Murphy we know that there's going to be logical problems contained within it. It's just that we need to work out which mistake he's made this time rather than wonder whether there is one. and here's quite a doozy:

If a willingness to pay the right amount of tax, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place is the best indication that there is of corporate social responsibility then there is, unfortunately, little evidence from the ten companies surveyed to produce this report that many of the suppliers of private services to the NHS are committed to this ideal.

Admittedly, this conclusion is not helped by the fact that eight of these ten companies are at present making losses, and so pay little or no tax at present, and may not do so for some time to come.

The error, of course, being failing to consider the implications of those providers making losses. Those providers are expending more resources to deliver health care than the NHS pays for delivering said health care. This must be so, this is the source of those losses. That is, the NHS is getting more health care than it is paying for: the taxpayer is getting more health care than it is paying for.

Quite how this is something we should object to is unknown. But then this is a feature of Murphy reports, the assumption that we're supposed to be outraged at the taxpayer getting a good deal.