Ordnance Survey sale will sell the public short

Ordnance Survey sale will sell the public short

Any moves to privatise Ordnance Survey will sell the public short by failing to provide an adequate return in the current economic climate and risk the loss of vital, but commercially unprofitable, data sets, Prospect has warned.

The union has reacted angrily to media speculation that OS could be among the assets to be shed as part of government plans to tackle the country’s deficit.

On behalf of 800 members in the national mapping agency, Prospect Deputy General Secretary Dai Hudd said:

“Ordnance Survey has already been reviewed as a potential privatisation candidate several times by both Labour and Conservative governments over the last 20 years - it was last considered and rejected in the 1990s.

“In each instance the end result has been the same; that the loss to industry and the public’s trust in the products provided by OS outweighs a short-term gain of a few million pounds.

“Yet rather than accept this conclusion, we are apparently to embark again on another lengthy and expensive review in the name of efficiency, which will divert management time that could be better spent generating profit by meeting the needs of users and customers.

“Surely if there were savings to be made of the level needed to make a significant impact on Britain’s deficit, the government’s own value for money programme would have identified them?”

Hudd also highlighted how any attempt to sell national assets in the current climate would fail to realise their true market value, amounting to little more than a shameful bargain basement giveaway.

“To sell off OS now would be economic madness as these would be public assets lost at way below their real value. It would be a case of sell in haste, repent at leisure.”