Andy Burnham Slams Thatcherite Privatisation And Makes Passionate Case For Nationalising Public Utilities

"Chaos on our trains, buses that people can't afford and raw sewage on our beaches - that is why change is needed."
Andy Burnham says "change is needed"
Andy Burnham says "change is needed"
Martin Rickett via PA Wire/PA Images

Andy Burnham has thrown his weight behind calls for the mass renationalisation of public utilities.

The mayor of Manchester said decades of privatisation had resulted in “chaos on our trains, buses that people can’t afford and raw sewage on our beaches”.

Speaking to Kay Burley on Sky News, Burnham - who has twice stood unsuccessfully to be Labour leader - set out the case for renationalisation and said “change is needed”.

The former Labour cabinet minister hit out at Tory leadership candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, who he accused of "promising more Thatcherism" in response to the cost of living crisis.

He said: “There’s certainly a case for more public control, more public ownership, of essential utilities.

“I’ve listened to the leadership debate in the Tory party this summer and they’ve both been promising more Thatcherism. Well, as far as I’m concerned, that is what got us into the mess we’re in right now - when we sold off the water, sold off the electricity, sold off the gas, sold off the council homes, sold off the buses, sold off the trains.

″We found ourselves in a position where ordinary people can’t afford those basics any more, those essentials, and therefore change is needed in the way that we provide those essential services.”

Burnham said he had taken buses back into public hands in Manchester and introduced a £2 cap on adult bus fares.

But he added: ”The talk that’s I’ve heard this summer of more deregulation, more privatisation, that has left us in a position where we’ve had chaos on our trains, buses that people can’t afford, and raw sewage on our beaches and that is why change is needed.”

His comments put him at odds with Labour leader Keir Starmer, who has stopped short of calling for privatised industries to be brought back into public ownership.

However, Burnham insisted Starmer was the right man to lead his party, although he refused to rule out going for the top job again in the future.

He said: “I’ve said I’ll serve a full second term as (mayor). If at some point beyond, way beyond this point where we are, that that was something that was a possibility, I would consider it.”


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