Council's privatisation plan, but who will profit?
3:21pm Wednesday 1st August 2012 in Skipper
We really can all rest easily in our beds this week after Cornwall Council ’s cabinet, in their infinite wisdom, decided to give the go-ahead for the privatisation of many of the authority’s support services.
The decision will see services including libraries, one-stop shops, IT and the payroll department all handed over to private sector companies to run, for a profit.
The council has claimed that it will save money and protect services, but don’t they always. And lets face it, the results of these sorts of plans elsewhere have not exactly been garlanded with roses (unless you have your nose in the trough).
Now, I don’t want to get into the whole political debate on privatisation here, a quick flick through any edition of Private Eye will show you the disasters that faced the many council's who have chosen this route, and how taxpayers have picked up the bill, but there have to be some questions raised over making such a decision without consulting the rest of the council.
No, instead of allowing the 123 elected members to have their say, such a momentous decision was instead made by the 10 councillors on the cabinet, and not even they could agree on the move.
Surely, if hundreds of millions of pounds are on the table, every elected member – who are supposed to represent us – should be allowed a say. Instead it comes down to a small clique, all of supposedly the same political persuasion, to make the call that will affect lives and council tax bills for us all.
There are also more fears raised over the decision when you look at the success of other privatisations in the UK in recent years. Just two weeks ago, we were left stunned when the private security firm G4S announced it was unable to fulfil its contract to supply security for the Olympic games. We can only hope that whoever is handed the responsibility of running Cornwall’s services can make a better fist of it.
Talking of the Olympics, has there been a sight more infuriating in recent years than the empty seats at the front of every arena at London 2012?
When tickets first went on sale, millions were left disappointed when allocations were massively oversubscribed.
The situation made everyone expect to see every venue packed to the rafters with cheering crowds, so to see so many empty seats has come as a real let down.
It seems they have been put aside for various sponsors of the games – but the tickets have either not been allocated to anyone, or given to people who cannot be bothered to turn up. Surely organisers can work out some way of sorting out this fiasco, and ensuring all the seats are filled by people who actually want to be a part of the Olympics.
At the moment, those empty spaces are the only things detracting from what has been a successful and impressive opening to London 2012.