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Businesses back plan for £300m 'investment'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 04, 2012

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A business group has expressed serious concern that "politically driven changes" at Cornwall Council could lead to the complete scrapping of part-privatisation plans.

Councillors last month voted overwhelmingly to put the brakes on a deal with telecom giant BT – thought to be worth £300m – to jointly run services which include library provision and benefits entitlement.

Chief executive Kevin Lavery has been told to explore fresh options other than the controversial joint venture, which cost former leader Alec Robertson his job and saw a new leader and cabinet installed at County Hall.

An officers' report outlining alternatives will be debated by the full council next week.

Ahead of its publication, the Cornwall Business Partnership (CBP), which includes BT as a member, has written to leader Jim Currie to put the case for "shared services".

CBP chairman Thelma Sorensen is urging councillors to welcome the opportunity for "valuable financial and technological investment".

"Many businesses consider the proposed strategic partnership for support services offers a real benefit at a time of severe economic uncertainty," she added.

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