I read in the Financial Times this morning, whilst sitting in Willi’s cafe in Jesmond, that Mitie had issued a profits warning. This is no surprise. I know Mitie only because I visit Courts and I see their staff cleaning the buildings. The article explained that the company employed a large number of minimum wage earners, it’s CEO was a peer and that shareholders would be worried.
I asked myself: why is a company paying so many people at NMW rates? How come the person in charge is a Tory peer? Why are shareholders benefitting out of Government contracts?
If people are paid more than the NMW will that not mean that money filters up through the economy? Won’t the State be subsidising what it is already paying for through working family tax credits? Wouldn’t the profits paid to shareholders be better spent on workers’ wages and on improving the service offered?
But it’s not just Court cleaning that is outsourced. Prisons are outsourced. HMP Northumberland is in a mess. A complete mess. It’s run by a French company and its in a mess with prisoners locked up 23 hours and the smoking of spice and other drugs rife amongst the inmates. The Lord Chancellor Liz Truss talks about prison reform but this Government and the coalition before it starved the Justice system of cash and resources by making so many people redundant.
There aren’t enough Probation Officers, Police officers or support staff, court and tribunal staff, court sitting days, crown prosecutors and support staff. Trials are still delayed or cracked far too often causing delay and a justice deficit which can’t be justified.
No-one of influence will speak out and instead talk about more efficiencies through information technology and the better use of resources. It’s a huge Emperor’s Parade with all sorts of people falling over each other to tell the Ministry of Justice how marvellous everything is. Well, if anyone could be bothered to visit a Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court and talk to the people who work there-as opposed to the people who mange the people who work there-then they’d find out the truth.
The system is in a mess. Who cares?