HOSPITALS and fire services will be run ‘outside the public sector’ Francis Maude, Tory Cabinet Office minister revealed yesterday, speaking to the Daily Telegraph.
Firefighters were immediately up in arms at the announcement, which would mean the wholesale privatisation of their service.
Maude said that services would be handed over to ‘mutual companies’. Further he stated that public sector jobs and wages will fall sharply so that the state could be shrunk to the levels of the 1930s with only the army and the police left intact.
Maude is responsible for drawing up the Tory plans to cut £20 billion from public services.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: ‘We are wholeheartedly against our service being delivered by a private company whose main motive will be to turn a profit ahead of keeping the public safe.
‘It is disgusting that a government is even considering running a lifesaving emergency service for profit in place of a fully accountable and publicly owned world class service.
‘Firefighters in Cleveland have overwhelmingly rejected offers of mutualisation. In a YouGov survey, 97% of firefighters said they were fully against the proposals.
‘Firefighters know what’s best for their profession and services delivered by profit driven companies is not it.
‘Frontline fire and rescue services in the UK have already been hit by devastating cuts and the use of private sector companies will only worsen the situation and risk public safety.
‘Since 2010, we’ve lost more than 5,000 firefighter jobs, 39 stations have closed and 999 emergency response times have increased by more than two minutes.’
Cerith Griffith, Regional FBU officer for Wales, told News Line: ‘These are a services that the public are relying on.
‘They are not services that you ever want to have to use, but you need to know that they are there for you if you do need to use them.
‘They are not services that companies should be making profit on.
‘We need well funded, well equipped fire service and these sort of things are going out to mutual companies and are the first steps towards the privatisation of the service.
‘We have seen some of the disastrous consequences of privatisation. We should not even be contemplating it.
‘When you start putting shareholders in front of the needs of a service, then you see a lack of investment. Ultimately this will lead to corners being cut and lives being lost.’
Brian Strutton, National GMB Secretary for Public Services, told News Line: ‘Francis Maude has let the cat out of the bag by revealing that a future Tory government would privatise anything that moves.
‘The NHS, emergency services, nothing is safe in Tory hands. Privately-run academies prove that this is a failed policy which no sensible minister would ever think of extending to other core public services.’