Fact check: the Labour record on publicly-run public services

When it comes to private sector involvement in public services, Labour are big on rhetoric. But their record in government tells a different story.

Here’s how Labour matches up to the SNP on publicly-run public services.

✅ The SNP is committed to a publicly-run, publicly-delivered NHS.

❌ In Scotland, Labour outsourced an NHS hospital (since returned to the NHS by the SNP); failed to reverse Tory outsourcing of cleaners (now brought in-house in NHS hospitals); and, in England, Labour opened the floodgates to health service privatisation.


✅ We have rejected Labour/Tory privatisation of our prisons.

❌ On leaving office in 2007, Labour had built one private prison, had put plans in place for another and had proposed a third.


✅ We ended the use of the Tory/Labour Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to fund schools and hospitals in Scotland.

❌ Labour used the Tory PFI scheme to build schools and hospitals. The flawed deals continue to cost Scotland’s public sector £1 billion every year. The projects had a total capital value of £4 billion but will cost £22 billion in repayments. In 2018-19, Scottish councils spent 8 per cent of their school budgets paying off Labour’s PFI debts. 


✅ We are using new powers to ensure a public-sector bid for Scotland’s railways.

❌ Labour in Scotland, and at Westminster, rejected calls to devolve the power to create a public sector bid for our railways throughout their time in government.


✅ We intend to award ferry contracts directly to public sector operators in the future if certain criteria can be met and subject to the views of local communities.

❌ In government, Labour refused to explore exemptions that would have allowed them to award ferry contracts directly to public sector operators.


✅ We have introduced a Transport Bill that, if passed, will give local authorities the power to run publicly-owned bus franchises – as already exists in Edinburgh.

❌ In government Labour made no moves to amend the law to allow local authorities to run bus franchises.