One of Whitehall’s most senior civil servants has been asked to tell the Tories not to sell off the probation service to private firms before next year’s general election.
Labour fiercely opposes the planned privatisation, which would transfer £650-£700 million year worth of business to the private sector, and wants to cancel them. But the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is hoping to see the privatisation through before the end of this this year.
Labour’s shadow Justice Secretary, Sadiq Khan, has written to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, Ursula Brennan, asking that the contracts be held up on the grounds that it would be wrong for the coalition government to make a decision of this importance only months before an election. Alternatively, he has asked that the contracts be written in such a way that they can be cancelled by an incoming government without huge financial penalties.