WHATS WRONG WITH THE PROFIT MOTIVE?
According to Collins, a shortage of capital to fund extra capacity may force the governments hand
Profit makers could help raise vital capital for new school places
Philip Collins, the former speech writer to Tony Blair, now a Times columnist, Leader writer and Chair of the Demos think tank , argues, in the Times on 29 March , that as there is a critical shortage of school places and not enough money in government to fund the new places, the solution to meet this demand has to be found in the profit making sector. The National Audit Office, somewhat off the pace, as ever, recently produced a report that told us the blindingly obvious- that there is a shortage of school places, something that was flagged up or ‘predicted’, way back in 2010, for those who bothered to look at the statistics and projections, based on ONS data. What on earth is the point of spending taxpayers money on producing a report that is two years out of date by the time its published?
Collins is not sure why so many people object to the notion of profit making state schools. He wrote ‘ There is never any objection when a profit is made from supplying children with writing implements or books or when people make a living from managing school facilities, making the school dinner or training the teachers. There is never an objection, in fact, when large chains look after children of pre-school age. As soon as a child hits school age it is, for some reason, an ideological crime to make money.‘
Collins writes ‘The school building programme has been a victim of austerity and although David Laws, the Schools Minister, has found £4.3 billion, he needs more. The deficit means he hasn’t got any more.’
The price of being allowed to make a profit in running a state school, suggests Collins ‘is that the company, rather than the taxpayer, has to find the initial capital costs of building extra classrooms or schools. The financial constraint on expansion is suddenly removed.’