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Fury as council cabinet press on with 'privatisation' plans

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

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Conservative council leaders in Cornwall have been branded a "select few tucked away in a top floor bunker" ignoring the will of fellow councillors.

The claim comes from fellow members at Cornwall Council furious the cabinet is ploughing ahead with proposals to bring in the private sector to run services, despite the majority of councillors rejecting the move.

In July Cabinet invited firms to tender for a contract worth between £210 million and £800 million to jointly run with the council libraries, benefit payments, IT and payroll. On Tuesday at County Hall in Truro during a full council meeting, councillors voted 46 in favour of the motion rejecting the move – 29 were against and 14 abstained.

Cabinet later reiterated its desire to pursue the tendering process insisting hundreds of jobs would be saved.

Jeremy Rowe, Lib Dem leader on Cornwall Council, said he was "appalled at the latest display of arrogance" from the Conservative camp.

He said: "At the meeting more than half of the democratically elected councillors present voted to stop this privatisation process, yet today a select few tucked away in the top floor bunker in Truro have decided to ignore that clear view from the council and plough on regardless.

"They have no mandate for this outsourcing project but they still have the arrogance to assume they know better than just about everybody else.

"It is a black day for democracy in Tory-led Cornwall."

Councillor Steve Double, portfolio holder for environment, waste management and shared services, said the cabinet would stick to its guns.

He said: "The reality is that this proposal, which brings together the best of the private and public sector in an innovative partnership, is vital to the future delivery of Cornwall council services. We are not privatising services.

"Under this proposal we will be joining with a private sector company to form a partnership which will then deliver these services, although the responsibility for setting policy and strategy will remain with the council.

"The facts are, that entering into this partnership will help us to protect frontline services, create 500 new jobs and reduce costs by at least £5 million a year. This is surely in the best interests of the people of Cornwall."

BT and Computer Sciences Corporation have been invited to bid – a decision will be made by the cabinet in November.

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  • Butters  |  September 06 2012, 2:11PM

    Let me get this straight. A vote is taken on an issue that is going to have a massive impact on the provision (or should that be reduction?) of services to the people of Cornwall. After a long debate only ONE THIRD of councillors present support the policy, just over ONE HALF reject it and the rest abstain. Where, except in Cloucuckooland, would that be construed as permission to proceed ? How is it even legal in what is supposed to be a democratic system? Legal or not, it shows utter contempt for the small minority of the electorate who bother to vote and brings the whole system into disrepute. It was this same Council who rejected their own Planning Committee's decision on the Route Partnership, and what a fiasco that turned out to be.In other words this lot have "previous", and if they get away with this outrage we have every right to expect the very worst.

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