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Tory Ministers Want to Privatise Fire and Rescue Services

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I imagine even David Cameron might have been alarmed if someone had told him three years ago that his government would be looking at privatising our emergency services.

But this Tory-led government has become so totally detached from reality that even the most radical and hare-brained policies seem to be coming thicker and faster.

Wielding an axe at our fire and rescue services was despicable enough. Some estimates suggest around 5,000 firefighter jobs will be lost by 2015.

Yet now the government has gone even further by proposing that it washes its hands of this vital life-saving service altogether - selling it off to the private sector like some kind of second hand motor it doesn't want to spend any more money on.

Well here is the point Mr Cameron and his ministers are failing to grasp: vital public services are supposed to cost society money - that's why we pay our taxes.

It's as if the government, and particularly its fire minister, Brandon Lewis, just don't get it.

Stuck in a self-made whirlwind of relentless cuts driven by an obsessive determination to see through their ideological experiment, whatever the cost may be, they have lost any context.

To make matters worse, Brandon Lewis sought to sneak this radical proposal through the obscure House of Commons Regulatory Reform Committee. That was until his privatisation wheeze ran into cross party opposition from members of the committee.

What these coalition ministers fail to understand is that the fire and rescue service, like the police and ambulance service, don't pay for themselves by bringing in monies. They do so by saving lives, by making our communities safer and by enabling people to feel secure in their homes.

What price knowing that if something unthinkable happens to your nearest and dearest then there are professionals on hand to help?

What price a human life?

Let's look at it another way. Why, exactly, do the government think that a private sector company would be prepared to take on a business such as the fire and rescue service?

There can only be one answer: to make money.

And if the prime motivation is to make profits for shareholders, service delivery is likely to be impaired. Surely even this government can see that our emergency services need to be protected, rather than being fed to the wolves.

The fire and rescue service should always be about saving lives first, second and third. It should never be about making money. The day that changes would be a grim day indeed for our society.