Cornwall Council's decision to privatise services branded 'undemocratic'
12:00pm Thursday 9th August 2012 in Truro
Anger is rising about a plan to privatise swathes of Cornwall Council services, with some councillors calling the decision undemocratic.
While the decision was made by the council’s ten strong cabinet, with supporters claiming that the venture would create 500 jobs and produce savings of £5 million in the first two years, the move was opposed by a large number of back-bench councillors.
The privatised services are set to include, payroll, employment support, invoice processing and payment, billing and collection of council tax, business rates.
Housing/council tax benefit, financial assessments for adult care, free school meals, call centres, training, systems and general administration, scanning and archive services will also be run by a private company for profit.
Face to face services including libraries and One Stop Shops will also be sold off.
Leader of Mebyon Kernow, Dick Cole said he agreed with Stuart Roden from the union Unison, who has pointed out that many similar joint ventures have failed. Mr Cole said: “We don't see how it's possible to protect and create jobs, make savings of 20 per cent-plus, improve services and make a profit for the shareholders of private companies”. The whole thing does not stack up."
“We find it disturbing that Cornwall Council would also be a minor partner in such an arrangement, with councillors sidelined and local democracy further undermined.
“We do not accept the claims about the projected savings or the new jobs, which we consider to be wishful thinking. We also worry for the very future of Cornwall Council as a democratic public sector entity. The massive cuts from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat government, and the privatising agenda of Conservative-led Cornwall Council, is doing great damage to the fabric of our public sector and its services. What is more, it is ordinary people who will suffer the consequences of such privatisations.”