David Cameron will herald new moves to open up public services to private providers when he hails the role of “insurgent companies” and speaks of the benefit of “breaking state monopolies”.
In a speech outlining the government’s approach to the autumn spending review, in which George Osborne will outline £20bn of cuts, the prime minister will cite children in care services and prisons as “standout areas” for reform.
The prime minister will say that government is not unlike a business. He will stress that he is not seeking to turn Whitehall into a business, but will say there is a need to reform public services: “What energises many markets are new insurgent companies, who break monopolies and bring in new ways of doing things. We can apply this thinking to government.
“So many of our country’s efforts to extend opportunity have been undermined by a tolerance of state failure. Children in care and prisons being two standout areas. Reform – be it breaking state monopolies, bringing in new providers or allowing new ways of doing things – can cut the costs of these failures both economically and socially and help advance the progressive causes of spreading opportunity and enhancing social mobility that we should all care about.”
The prime minister’s speech, on the eve of the announcement of the next Labour leader, comes amid intense preparations in Downing Street for the election of Jeremy Corbyn. Cameron will tell his audience in the north of England that Labour poses a “clear threat to the financial security of every family in Britain” – remarks aimed at Corbyn, although the prime minister stops short of predicting a winner.
Osborne indicated over the weekend that the Tories would not seek to gloat at a Corbyn victory in the face of widespread fears in the Labour party that it would mark a dangerous move to the left. The chancellor said the Tories would regard a Corbyn victory as a moment to act responsibly by seeking to champion working people.
Cameron will make clear that he believes a Corbyn victory creates space for him to fashion what he calls the “smarter state” as he says that the government will seek to open up government contracts. The chancellor will outline details in the autumn statement about how he will cut government spending by £20bn as part of a £37bn fiscal consolidation designed to eliminate budget deficit and to allow him to run a budget surplus by the time of the next election.
Cameron will make clear that the government needs to go further in opening up public services to achieve better value for money when he says: “Businesses are always looking at ways to streamline their functions so they can become more effective. I would argue it’s an imperative – a moral imperative – for government to do the same. When money is tight, it’s simply unforgiveable to waste taxpayers’ money.
“More than that, efficient government can actually help with our progressive goals. Opening up contracts to small businesses spreads entrepreneurship and drives innovation. Closing down government offices and releasing government land can help build more homes and spread home ownership. Indeed, across the spectrum, there are opportunities for us to make a difference not just to people’s pockets but to people’s lives. For example, I believe the creation of the Government Digital Service is one of the great unsung triumphs of the last parliament.”
The prime minister will show he is prepared to embark on controversial reforms when he pledges to introduce legislation to allow the three emergency services – fire, police and ambulance services – to combine back office functions and IT.
This article was written by Nicholas Watt Chief political correspondent, for theguardian.com on Friday 11th September 2015 00.01 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010