Press release

16 December 2014

Fire services will be run ‘outside the public sector’, a senior minister has disclosed to a national newspaper.

As the government continues to cut costs, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has said that services could be handed over to ‘mutual, joint venture or hybrid’ companies owned by employers and other non-state bodies.

He said this approach would “give flexibility to evolve services around the needs of the user, which makes for a better outcome and saves money” and cited the example of Cleveland Fire Brigade, which has already said it would like to become an employee-owned mutual.

Drawing up plans for £20 billion of Whitehall savings by 2020, Mr Maude said that, with the exception of defence and policing, every function of the state could potentially be done outside the public sector. He also warned that public sector jobs and wages would have to fall sharply to ensure that the government lives within its means. 

Independent forecasters have said Coalition spending plans will mean the loss of another million public sector jobs. Mr Maude admitted: “We won’t make the savings that have been set out without further reductions in headcount and pay bill.”

Original sources

The Telegraph