Chancellor Alistair Darling announced £5 billion in “efficiency savings” as part of his pre-budget report.
In plain language that means more public sector cuts and more privatisation.
The Met Office, the Oil and Pipeline Agency, the Royal Mint, the Land Registry and the Ministry of Defence’s storage and distribution agency could all be put up for sale.
Darling is looking for “alternative business models, commercialisation, new market opportunities and alternatives to public ownership”.
According to an official treasury briefing, “the door is open to privatisation”. Public services will be “contracted out without a public sector bid”.
The Lift programme, which uses “public‑private partnerships” to build GP surgeries and other buildings, will be extended to the whole of primary healthcare.
Some 86,000 civil service jobs have already gone under in the current swathe of cuts.
Now tens of thousands more jobs are due to go in departments such as Revenue & Customs, the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Work and Pensions.