The Met Office is profitable - keep it public
The Met Office helps you check if it's going to be sun, rain or snow at the weekend - but that's not all. Government and business rely on its data every day and it does vital work assessing the impact of climate change.
The work of the Met Office began in 1854 so it is the oldest national forecaster. It helped the country to plan missions during World War One and World War Two. Today it remains at the forefront of weather forecasting - its four day forecast is as accurate as its one day forecast was 30 years ago. It has some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. And it is rated as one of the top two global forecasters for accuracy (although we know it doesn't always seem that way!)
What you need to know
The Met Office helps the UK and other economies to prosper. Its data and advice help a wide range of organisations in areas such as health, transport and defence. Met Office predictions help local authorities respond to winter weather and they help the NHS to predict patient numbers. It plays a lead role in forecasting and researching climate change and the impact this will have.
- The Met Office makes around £8 million profit a year
- 92% of its next day maximum temperature forecasts are correct to within two degrees
- It helps airlines reduce costs, and run safely and on schedule
- It advises governments across the globe
What are the risks of privatisation?
The Met Office has had a contract to provide the BBC weather forecast since 1922. Now this contract has been given to the business MeteoGroup which is owned by the private equity group General Atlantic. Public money will be wasted on private shareholders.
The Met Office will continue to provide the weather forecasts for ITV, but the loss of the BBC contract is a real blow. It feels like a politically motivated decision to undermine a national institution that we should cherish and protect.
So far, the Government’s plans for sell offs have not included privatising the Met Office itself – we need to make sure they never do.
Photo used under Creative Commons licensing, thanks to the aucitron https://www.flickr.com/photos/theaucitron/