Tuesday, 4 September 2012

MK opposes “part-privatisation” of council services

Mebyon Kernow today opposed Cornwall Council entering into a multi-million pound joint venture project with a large private company, which would allow the private sector to deliver a massive range of council services including benefits, council tax, payroll, IT support, libraries and one-stop-shops.

The constitution of the unitary authority states that the decision whether to proceed with the scheme lies with the ten-strong Cabinet, which voted to seek final tenders on 30th July.

But the whole of the Council today debated a motion that stated: “it is not in the best interests of the people of Cornwall for the Council to enter into the proposed Strategic Partnership for Support Services,” in order to inform Cabinet members of the views of the wider membership of the authority.

The motion was proposed by Independent Councillor Andrew Wallis and seconded by MK Councillor Andrew Long (Callington). The Council voted by 46 votes to 29 votes to support the moton. There were a total of 14 abstentions.

Speaking on behalf of Mebyon Kernow in the debate, Cllr Long told councillors much of the evidence used to support the joint venture was “pure conjecture.” He rubbished the claims about savings and the creation of jobs, describing the promises as “pie in the sky,” adding we are more likely to see “bacon-clad flying mammals.”

He also slammed the lack of democratic accountability in the proposed arrangement and condemned the proposal as “full of risks” and urged the Cabinet to “reverse its decision.”

Also speaking at the meeting, fellow MK Councillor Loveday Jenkin (Wendron) blasted the transfer of staff and huge budgets into a private sector company, which she said would “inevitably result in worse terms and conditions for local workers.” She also described the project as “not in the best interests of Cornwall.”

All five Mebyon Kernow councillors (Dick Cole, Stuart Cullimore, Andrew Long, Loveday Jenkin and Neil Plummer) backed the proposal not to enter into the proposed Strategic Partnership for Support Services.


Bob Hayes said...

This whole shift to a cabinet to replace the old committee system has seriously damaged local democracy in my view. Sure, the old system wasn't perfect but it seems to me that with this and the senior officers acting as a stasi for central government, the general run of Councillors are now so sidelined one cannot help but wonder why they bother. Having said that, I'm so pleased that people like you do bother, Dick, or we might as well scrap local government altogether and just have central government appointees running the show.

craig weatherhill said...

I wholly agree with Bob. This Cabinet system is raising two fingers to due democratc process. The old committee system,with decisions to be ratified by Full Council, work s far better, even if it is not perfect.

I think we need to know the names of this 10-person Cabinet, and which of them voted for the move towards privatisation (with yet more of Cornwall's economy being diverted up-country). It is our right as the electorate to know who is betraying us.