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Privatising the Fire Service

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


AnninGlos Report 20 Feb 2013 14:37

I haven't read the threads as been busy but I thought I would put this one up:

I just signed a petition to stop our fire service being privatised. Please join in and sign too.

It looks like the government are planning to privatise our fire service. They’re trying to sneak in new laws that “would enable fire and rescue authorities in England to contract out their full range of services to a suitable provider”.

Every day, firefighters put their lives in danger to keep us safe. Within minutes of an emergency, we can expect fire crews to be there to save lives and protect our property. Privatising this vital service might seem crazy. But that’s exactly what the government are trying to quietly slip through a hush-hush parliamentary committee.

Let’s make sure the government know we’re watching. We’ve seen bad ideas get much too far before. We need to move fast to show the government that we want a fire service whose priority is protecting peoples lives, not making profit. Together we can prove how unpopular privatising the fire service would be with the public. Sign the petition here:


DazedConfused Report 20 Feb 2013 14:46



lilybids Report 20 Feb 2013 14:47

Just signed my Grandson is a fireman


Tecwyn Report 20 Feb 2013 15:07

Just signed,

What next? the Police Service?



OneFootInTheGrave Report 20 Feb 2013 15:11

Signed, and I wish the petition well.

In saying that, I have lost count of the number of times governments of all shades have promised to listen and consult, trouble is they never listen and more times than not they ignore the outcome of any consultation and just go ahead with their own ideological plans on the basis that they know what is best, and that is usually what is best for them and their cronies, not what is best for Joe Public :-|

Just look at the recent decisions about hospitals and accident and emergency departments :-(


AnninGlos Report 20 Feb 2013 15:14

But, 38 degrees has had some success with their petitions, especially with the selling off of forests.


OneFootInTheGrave Report 20 Feb 2013 15:15

Tecwyn, they are already well down the road with privatising the Police Service :-(


ChAoTicintheNewYear Report 20 Feb 2013 15:36

Signed, facebooked, tweeted.


ChrisofWessex Report 20 Feb 2013 15:47

I had an email so signed about an hour ago.

*$parkling $andie*

*$parkling $andie* Report 21 Feb 2013 00:29

On the petition 49509 and still going :-D


maggiewinchester Report 21 Feb 2013 00:37

49586 now :-D


AnninGlos Report 21 Feb 2013 09:26

Thanks all


KittytheLearnerCook Report 21 Feb 2013 09:31



RolloTheRed Report 21 Feb 2013 12:22

Being a traditionalist I usually prefer to leave things as they are. Apart from a knee jerk "no" reaction to such an idea why not privatize the fire service ?

For other state security services the same thing has a;ready been done with UK Air Traffic Control, air sea rescue (in the pipeline), forensic labs and large chunks of the police back office now in the private sector.

It is a fallacy that the government has to own a service and employ the people working in it so as to provide that service. Education, health, motorways could all be supplied through contract out arrangements. Indeed that is very much the way things are going e.g. the Post Office, schools where the LEAs are getting shoved out of the picture.

The primary motivation for the Treasury is that it is faced with a ballooning deficit on index linked public sector pensions which in the case of the fire service is accentuated by the early retirement scheme. A policy of keeping control with UKGov but contracting out delivery would remove this liability as all the employees would be shifted into the private sector where pension arrangements are different and not UKGov responsibility. No doubt there would be a cut off for those who would continue on the current set up.

The secondary motive is to push some efficiency into the service. Despite the axe swinging quite hard and the cancellation of the crazy national fire center project there is any amount of slack.

The fire service already charge insurers for its costs relating to accidents so it has a system in place for charging.

The obvious questions are (a) how charging would work and (b) how would competition work ? Following the privatization of power, railways and (by stealth) the NHS the UKGov will have some ideas.

Pretty obviously some sort of fire engine chasing accident scenario is not going to happen which suggests any operating company would have a regional monopoly. London could be an interesting exception.

The fire brigade could easily extend its current charging system for accidents to commercial losses reducing business tax pro rata. Premiums would go up. It would be a criminal offence for a business not to carry fire insurance - most do in any case. Something very similar could work for householders and landlords. In any case the existing insurance system could easily be used.

The fire element in the council tax bill would disappear.

So what are the objections?

A. Not a great financial deal for many firemen. Without a doubt the new fire companies would be set up by senior current serving officers who will be for the moment playing at both ends of the park.

B. A much tougher attitude towards 999 and other waste of time. OTOH fire prevention would quickly become much more proactive.

C. The volunteers wouldn't like it. Why not ?

D. Cats and such would still be rescued as it is good public relations.

E. This one is the cruncher.

Taking flooding as an example for many years the government and insurers have spread the risk over all the tax payers and all of the policy holders. This policy is in sharp reverse with insurers pushing up renewal fees a lot. At the same time the govt simply deducts flood works and coast protection from the block grant for an area effectively forcing areas prone to such problems to finance them from the local budget. The wails over the sharp policy fee increases and uninsured losses are loud and growing louder.

Fires too do not happen evenly across the country and affect different types of property. Without a doubt should the service be privatized then many private individuals will be dismayed at the cost of their policy renewal. Taking out such a policy may well be compulsory as with TV.

So there you go. 38 was effective with the forests ( little financial upside, massive political downside ) but it won't get far with this as serious money is involved. The fire service if minded to have a face off should remember Ronald Reagan and the air traffic controllers.

The UK state as it was setup between 1947 and 1979 largely ran government services for the benefit of those who ran them as they were thought "to know best". That kind of thinking is still very popular and of course espoused by the Labour Party even though Balls, Milliband et al know perfectly well that the existing setups are not viable. Blair cancelled out section 4 with good reason.

If you want to know what is going on then the press is not the best place to look for it.



~`*`Jude`*`~ Report 21 Feb 2013 12:40

DONE...thanks AnnG

jude x


PollyinBrum Report 21 Feb 2013 12:48

Ann Thank you for posting I have signed. I will copy to my FB if that is ok with you.


AnninGlos Report 21 Feb 2013 13:08

Thank you those who have signed. Paula no problem.


RolloTheRed Report 21 Feb 2013 13:33

How the FB spend tax payers money.

One of the brick walls that 38 keep running into when they send their petitions to the Commons is that there is only one option, sign up to 38 degrees argument.

It is a political rule of thumb that for every activist who will stick his head over the parapet on any matter that there are at least 100 who either don't care or have the opposite view. To get an traction on this 38 will need way over a million sigs. Do you really think that will happen ?

Thus it is quite easy to disregard the petition unless it has broader support as was the case with the forests. No government has ever come out top of an argument with the National Trust and Daily Telegraph on the same side. Apart forests that is one reason why Heathrow extension & HST2 are progressing so slowly, or not.

38 might be onto something with Mr Brock.

fwiw this FB argument is one of those noble lost causes where sentiment and sense take each other on and as usual sense wins out. My take is that the govt will get the clause through and then use it as a club to hit the FB over the head with, privatization being a last resort.

Strikes again ? The Green Goddesses are no longer around
SEE - the Govt can do its own thing in an emergency.

Would privatization cost lives ?

The other side of the argument is that many commercial property owners and landlords (inc social landlords) are pretty lax with fire safety as the FB will pick up the tab. The FB know this and are always moaning that due to lack of funds they cannot do enough inspections. OTOH the possibility of a sharp increase in fire premium after a fire and even cease trading as no cover would be a big kick up the back side without it costing the taxpayer a cent. Quite possibly the insurers would also be a but more pro active.

Oh well Grand Designs can start penciling in some more fire station conversions.