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Alex Robertson's shock move on shared services plan

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 09, 2012

Alec Robertson

Alec Robertson

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A surprise U-turn on plans to part-privatise Cornwall Council services has been signalled as leader Alec Robertson fights to save his political life.

Days ahead of a key vote to oust the Tory leader, Mr Robertson has pledged to scrap the £800 million "shared services" scheme if councillors refuse to give it support at a later debate.

The Conservative chief admits next week's motion of no confidence now also represents a vote on the joint venture, as any successor to his role is likely to be opposed to the outsourcing deal.

The timing of the announcement has been described as an opportunistic political move to unite his party.

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It will offer critics of the scheme within his ranks the chance to retain the leader, avoid political embarrassment and still sink the privatisation plans afterwards.

A Conservative source said at least ten members would vote against Mr Robertson, if councillors hold a secret ballot.

Mr Robertson claimed he has the full support of his group and called for the decision to be taken in "an open and transparent way".

Critics argue the council has already voted against the plans and say the change of heart is a "ruse" to remain in power and work to persuade councillors to back the plans.

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  • H_Trevorrow  |  October 10 2012, 7:29PM

    bg is correct...posters below are judging a scheme they know nothing about basing thier beliefs {pure paranioa}on such fiction as Alex R and Lavery being in cahoots with big business and against the people in Cornwall.What bunkum. Ackedoff shows the lack of financial ac***en by relating that a loan which would be repaid should instead be spent....at the end of ten years the services would then be cut altogether. The sub plot at county hall is that the lib dems are pi**ed coz they have no power and the conservatives have an internal power struggle to deal with which the libs are using desperately trying to gain power.....what is best for our taxes and services is the least of concern.

  • BarryG  |  October 10 2012, 3:44PM

    Politicians will play their games you're right, but frankly they are all the same. I'm concerned that we don't throw out the baby with the bath water here. Council process seems to have been followed and Cornwall now has some offers for more investment and also job creation, yes and also savings which maybe could have been found anyway (but probably by making hundreds of council workers redundant). Whatever you think of the politicians and council, should we at least not hear the facts of what is actually on offer. I am passionate about anything which drives more employment and stops our people having to go up country to find good jobs!

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  • ackedoff  |  October 09 2012, 11:32PM

    The plan B could be cancelling the £25 million Incinerator loan to a company that should have the money anyway and allocate it to the services under threat. As the shared services project is to allegedly save £2.5 million a year that gives the Council about 10 years to worry about it again.......simples

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  • ackedoff  |  October 09 2012, 11:24PM

    well doitdreckly this project is supposed to save £2.5 million a year.......plan b could be cancel the £25 million loan for the Incinerator, allocate that money to the services under threat and that gives us about 10 years to play with............simples!............blimey have I talked myself onto the cabinet?

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  • Doitdreckley  |  October 09 2012, 8:42PM

    Question is, if there is this U-turn then if and when Osborne or even Ed Balls cut local government spending again how will Council services be paid for? Lavery and Robertson claim that the part privatisation is needed to fend off future spending cuts by bringing alternative money into the Council. The objectors (like the Liberal Councillors whose party is in Government and helping to generate the national cuts that have a local impact) need to have a 'plan B'.

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  • Phil_lip  |  October 09 2012, 11:42AM

    I still stand by my comment the other day, any councillor that is reading this needs to stand up for what they believe about the whole farce that is currently going on, we have an incinerator being lent public money to a company that clearly does not need it and that company has not even looked at ways to eliminate the polluting gases that will escape, and the technology is available. We have a cabinet that some, possibly most have a lot of rental properties in Redruth and now the records office is being put there the town will get flood defences built (not saying it shouldn't be done anyway) and they did not declare an interest/conflict of interest because of the ownership they have on these properties. Then we have this, a cabinet (according to lawrence on radio) that only 8 (that could) voted to privatise some of the core services and the continual lies about how much it will benefit Cornwall when it hasn't worked anywhere else. Do not be fooled councillors, Robertson needs to go, if this went through he would be walking away from the council in the next few years and working for SITA on the board of one its many guises in Cornwall or up country and I found 5 the other day (in Cornwall alone) all linked around the same industry, Lavery needs to be fired as well and someone that really does have Cornwall's interests at heart be brought in. So please councillors do what is right for Cornwall and do not believe this change of direction is anything more than a ploy.

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  • Olly_Gark  |  October 09 2012, 11:04AM

    @ josdave Exactly right. And I think it will happen because it is in their own best interests that it should. Any rank and file councillor who is standing for re-election will have a lot of explaining to do if they support Robertson and his 'cabinet' of appointed cronies. There is, after all, little point in re-electing a councillor if s/he simply intends to draw their money (some tens of thousands a year, tax free from our pockets) whilst allowing the dictatorship of the 'cabinet' decisions to rubber stamp whatever benefits their friends in business. I shall note how my 'representative' votes and if he supports Robertson's continued parody of effective leadership then I won't be voting for the renewal of his tax free meal ticket as a rank and file member. I suspect that a lot of the electorate will make a similar judgement.

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  • josdave  |  October 09 2012, 10:51AM

    Robert I think you have hit the nail on the head. It's about time the rank and file councillors stood up to this dictatorship laughingly called a Cabinet.

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  • robertwebber1  |  October 09 2012, 10:23AM

    A desperate man trying desperately to hold onto his job.

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  • ackedoff  |  October 09 2012, 9:41AM

    Whether this is a clever move or not I think Mr Robertson needs to realise that he , Mr Lavery, and many of their followers have lost the confidence of the local electorate due to way the underhanded way their administration has run things

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