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Public Services Sector and Economic Inequality

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Public Services Sector and the Poor

The public services sector assists all members of our society. Provision of public services is a core responsibility of government. This is crucial in sustaining social order and reducing the disadvantage of marginalised communities. Without this investment, poor areas become even poorer.

One important way democratic socialist countries work towards equality of opportunity, is by the state provision of high quality public sector services.

Any consideration of how public services help poor people should start with income support. After all, state welfare benefits are the first and most obvious way the state helps those in need. However, the poor benefit greatly from a whole range of services offered by the public services sector. 

What is the public services sector?

The public services sector is the sector that provides government services to citizens. These services are funded by government and provided either directly by government or by non-government providers.

Public Services Examples

Public Health, Housing and Education

There can be no doubt the public services sector help the poor in their desire for a better life. Public health is one of the most vital services for all people, but especially the poor. Quality public health services are important for people to avoid ingrained disadvantage and suffering. Such disadvantage is disproportionately experienced by groups such as refugees, people with a disability and the elderly.

Housing is another essential service. It is hard to improve your education or obtain employment without a roof over your head. Accordingly, the provision of public housing is essential for poor people to have a better quality of life, especially people with disabilities and the elderly.

Public Education is another crucial service to help disadvantaged and marginalised groups in any community. In modern society, a good education is a must when it comes to improving one’s lot in life. State education to which everyone has access is vital to help the poor take advantage of opportunities when they arise.

Public Services Sector Helps Poor People

Health, housing and education are extremely important parts of the public services sector for people to have access to. However, when you are living in poverty they are not enough.

Some of the other badly needed services that help poor people include public transport, public recreation spaces and publicly funded income support. Indeed certain groups such as refugees, the elderly or people with a disability, may require niche services that are not universal in nature. 

The issue of income support emerged during periods of covid-19 lockdown. Governments called for citizens to stay at home. However, they often failed to understand that people on low incomes are forced to work to obtain the bare necessities of life. So there was a renewed the call for a Universal Basic Income (UBI). (UBI is a social welfare proposal in which all citizens of a given population regularly receive a minimum income in the form of an unconditional payment).

Public Service Government

If you want a public services government that will look after people, there are two ways to advance this. The first is at the ballot box – by voting for a Socialist!

The other way is to support industrial action taken by public sector workers themselves through their union. These workers can strike to improve their own working conditions, as well as to protest the undermining of the public services sector.

There should be no doubt the public services sector significantly helps the poor. Indeed, democratic socialist countries have proved this to be the case. As a result, government must ensure first rate publicly funded services for all citizens. This should include a decent living income for the poor, to increase the health of the whole community and provide increased opportunities for the poor.

public services sector union rally
Public Services Sector Union Rally

By Cr. Rob Pyne (Disabled former MP, and Local Government Councillor).

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