Unions have ridiculed Tory plans to allow frontline staff to take over the health and education services.

In a keynote speech on Monday, Conservative leader David Cameron said staff would be encouraged to form co-operatives and direct their own work within national standards.

National agreements for pay, employment conditions and pensions will have to be disbanded

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “David Cameron is using the language of socialism to mask a break-up of public services. He is mangling the English language to advance his anti-state ideology.

“These plans will erode the joined-up working that exists between health, social work and educational professionals.

“This will also mean that national agreements for pay, employment conditions and pensions will have to be disbanded for teachers, health staff and local authority workers. David Cameron has not spelt out what the effects will be on those dedicated employees working in the public sector.”

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The public won’t be fooled by George Osborne’s road to Damascus conversion to co-operatives.

“This is just another Tory plan to break up public services, plunge them into confusion and then let the private sector pick over their bones.

“How are we to ensure that our schools and hospitals maintain high standards if there is no one to monitor or take responsibility when things go wrong?

“There would be enormous problems for staff too, with the breakdown of national pay bargaining and confusion over pensions.”