In August last year, we launched a pathfinder programme of 21 groups of public sector workers setting up mutuals with the help of mentors. In addition, millions of public sector employees will be given rights to provide public services as mutuals, such as those recently announced in the national health service. That will free up public sector workers to innovate and provide better and more efficient services. We have committed to funding a £10 million support programme to help such new organisations get off the ground. [Interruption.]
Order. I am bound to say that it is very difficult even for me to hear what the Minister is saying. As a consequence, I feel sorely under-nourished. The situation is unsatisfactory.
Given the evidence that productivity and efficiency increase dramatically when staff are given a role in shaping services, is not the scaremongering about the proposals on mutuals unhelpful to users, taxpayers and the staff concerned?
Anyone who visits the pathfinder mutuals, talks to the staff—now co-owners—of those organisations and sees the excitement with which they are pursuing their new vocation will give up on the scaremongering. This is a profoundly important movement that should command support from throughout the House.