Updated: Thursday, 12th December 2019 @ 10:34pm

Privatised fire service proposals are 'shambles' warns Manchester fire authority chief, but Tories dismiss fears

Privatised fire service proposals are 'shambles' warns Manchester fire authority chief, but Tories dismiss fears

By Chris Bailey

Firefighters are in danger of being privatised, warns the chairman for Greater Manchester’s fire authority.

Minister for Fire and Rescue Service Brandon Lewis recommended fire authorities contract out their services to a ‘suitable alternative provider’, in a letter to a commons committee last year.

But at a Trafford Council meeting on Thursday, Labour Councillor David Acton – who is also chair of the GM Fire and Rescue Authority – insisted Mr Lewis’ proposals were an ‘absolute shambles’.

“If this was to become law I believe this open the door for privatisation for the fire and rescue services – that would be a disaster,” he said.

“There’s no way that any government should be introducing the profit motive into an emergency service.

“They do a tremendous job working to keep us safe – the work they do cannot and should not be put out to contract.”

Trafford’s Conservative councillors, however, were quick to dismiss the claims – with Councillor Alex Williams insisting Mr Lewis’ words does not in any way mean imminent privatisation.

“This is desperate stuff from Councillor Acton,” he said. “We have heard about white smoke from the Vatican but I think he is putting on a smokescreen tonight.

“What this is about is creating ways to deliver services more effectively and efficiently – this is not privatisation through the back door.

“The Labour group is simply stuck in the past.”

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