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Cabinet is accused of 'appalling arrogance'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

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Conservative leaders in Cornwall have been accused of "appalling arrogance" after ignoring councillors who voted against joining forces with the private sector to run services.

On Tuesday, members of Cornwall Council voiced their disgust to the move instigated by the Tory-led cabinet by voting in favour of a motion that the step towards part-privatisation of some core service was not in the best interests of council tax payers. Following a sometimes-heated debate lasting more than three hours at County Hall in Truro, councillors voted 46 in favour of the motion, 29 against and 14 abstentions.

Councillors accused the cabinet of part-privatising public services and risking jobs – a claim denied by cabinet.

But yesterday Steve Double, Conservative, the council's portfolio holder for environment, waste management and shared services, reiterated the cabinet's position – signalling the drive towards shared services.

The cabinet decided in July to tender the contract to run services such as libraries, benefit payments, IT and payroll worth between £210 million and £800 million to the private sector. BT and Computer Sciences Corporation have thrown their hats into the ring to set up a joint venture company with the council to operate the services.

Mr Double said: "Following the debate the cabinet has confirmed that it remains committed to the programme and will continue to work with health partners to issue the invitation to tender to the two bidders. As I said on Tuesday all the concerns which were raised by members during the debate have already been considered by the Cabinet."

Jeremy Rowe, Lib Dem leader, said: "I am appalled at this latest display of arrogance from the Conservatives at County Hall."

A final decision about which company wins the tender will be made in November.

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