Privatised fire service could put lives at risk, says MP
9:25am Thursday 21st February 2013 in News
n PRIVATISATION of the fire service could cost lives, a Bolton MP has warned.
Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi voiced her concerns over Government proposals which, she claims, could result in the service being privatised “through the back door”.
The Fire Brigades Union, which represents firefighters, also says the plans could put lives in danger.
Ms Qureshi said a letter from fire minister Brandon Lewis to the Commons regulatory reform committee reveals the Government is set to put forward proposals “that would enable fire and rescue authorities in England to contract out their full range of services to a suitable provider”.
She said this would mean more than 1,600 firefighters based at 40 fire stations in Greater Manchester could be employed by a private company.
Ms Qureshi said: “I oppose the Government’s plans to allow fire services to be sold off. Local people need to have confidence that firefighting in our area is being run for public protection — not company profit. Fire and rescue is an essential service which we all depend on for our safety, and sometimes our lives.
“Our experience with the Olympics was a forceful lesson that private firms often cost more and deliver less than promised when they bid to take over public services. I will be making my voice heard to campaign for a fire service that puts the public first.”
Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said the move would cost lives, citing problems with a firm running services in two areas which nearly led to fire engines being lost to creditors.