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Cameron plans to introduce choice to public services

More choice could be made available on schools and hospitals, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced. Probation services, children’s centres and fire and rescue services could also be provided outside of ‘big state structures’, he wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

This could end “once and for all the closed, state monopoly” on public service provision. Cameron also plans to create more ‘neighbourhood councils’, to give residents a greater say in how local services are run and by whom.

He wrote: “If your mother needs hospital treatment, or your child is about to start school, you will get a choice over where they go. And if that choice doesn’t exist, or you’re not happy with it, you will have a way to get your complaint properly and fairly listened to - and resolved.

“We are putting people in control, giving them the choices and chances that they get in almost every other area of life. There is still a way to go and this kind of change will not happen overnight. But no-one should doubt my determination to make our public services better, by opening them up. I will not rest until the job is done.”

But TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “People want good quality, accessible public services that are free at the point of use, not a confusing array of private providers to choose from.

“The changes risk increased fragmentation, a muddying of the lines of responsibility, with the winners those who can afford to shop around for services and the losers those that can’t – the most vulnerable in our society.”

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