Has the political consensus on competition broken down?
UK Governments of all complexions have used the private sector to deliver some public services, including in the NHS. And in 2010, when Frontier produced a report for the Office of Fair Trading on the subject, all the main parties were committed to furthering competition and choice in the public sector. In the third of our election bulletins, we ask: how has the debate developed since?
By 2010, the use of competition in public services to drive down costs and drive up standards had become mainstream policy across the political divide. The Blair and Brown governments had gone further than their Conservative predecessors to introduce competition through “patient’s choice” in health and privately run “academies” in education. Choice election offerings Since then, however, the consensus seems to have been weakening. While the Cameron Government has opened more academies and independently-run “free schools”, and made further changes in the way health services are commissioned, the current Labour leadership has been promising to abolish “enforced” competition in the NHS, talking instead of “collaboration”