Sunday, October 18, 2009

Conservatives may privatise the Met Office

The BBC reports:

A Conservative government would consider privatising the Met Office, shadow defence secretary Liam Fox has suggested to the BBC.
The Tories are committed to reducing Ministry of Defence costs by a quarter and this could include selling assets such as the Met Office.
Mr Fox told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show there was a "very strong case" for looking at offloading MoD assets.
He disputed suggestions that 22,000 MoD jobs could go as costs are cut.
Mr Fox said the Conservatives' policy had to be "about giving things to the front line", adding: "We can't afford to have 16% of the whole civil service in the MoD."
'Do these deliver?'
Asked how a Tory government would make savings, he said: "It's also big structures like the fact the MoD owns the Met Office, with all the costs, salaries, pensions."
Questioned about privatising the Met Office, Mr Fox said: "There's a very strong case to look at the assets of the MoD and say do these deliver anything for the front line?"
The Met Office, which provides the UK's weather forecasts, was established in 1854 as a small department within the Board of Trade and later became part of the MoD.

CPO co-founder Neil Clark comments: It seems that Labour and the Conservatives are trying to out-do each other over who will flog off most publicly-owned assets after the next election. Even though opinion polls show clearly that the British public want public ownership, not further privatisation.

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