Unison has claimed that more than 60 per cent of the public believe that public services should be run using directly employed workers.

At the launch of a Positively Public campaign at the TUC annual congress, the union released a MORI poll showing that 66 per cent of those questioned strongly agreed or 'tended' to agree that public services should be run by the government or local authorities rather than private companies.

The figure rose to 72 per cent among trade union members. About 80 per cent of both the general public and union members felt public services should not be run for profit.

Unison general secretary Rodney Bickerstaffe said the poll showed the 'privatisation culture' was not popular with the public and the government should realise this in the run-up to the next general election.

'It is time to say no to creepting privatisation and yest to well-funded, publicly provided, democratically accountable public services, 'he said. Unison is now planning to ask members of the public to sign up to a Positively Public manifesto with seven principles, including democratically accountable services, adequate funding, equality of access for the public and workforce involvement.