Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Cornwall Lib Dems statement on privatisation vote

As I'm at a conference in Telford this week, I was unable to attend yesterday's full council meeting where the issue of the privatisation of services was discussed. But the council voted clearly in favour of the motion put forward condemning the plans. After the debate, my colleague Jeremy Rowe had this to say:

"Cornwall Councillors today voted overwhelmingly and unequivocally against the cabinet's decision to go into a joint venture partnership with a private company to deliver a wide range of council services - in effect a privatisation. It is now up to the Cabinet to respond to this vote, but we cannot see how they could choose to over-ride the considered views of councillors as expressed today."

"No party stood in 2009 on a manifesto of privatising more services and it would be wrong to take such a huge decision without the understanding and support of the electorate. We challenge the Conservatives and those of their Independent group allies who voted for this move to stand next May on a platform of privatisation. Only if the voters of Cornwall support them should this plan move ahead."

"There is obviously scope to look at doing things differently, but part of the problem has been the Cabinet's reluctance to ask the right questions. For instance, Cornwall Council and the NHS could look at working together to provide an in-house solution to IT provision and this may have the potential to save considerable sums of money while being an attractive proposition for other local authorities. All we ask is that all the options are examined instead of the current administration's narrow ideological approach."

"Today's debate saw members from all sides express their concern and opposition to this proposal which is hasty and ill-thought through. There are, of course, some public-private partnerships which have been very successful. But Cornwall has a sorry history of PFI and contract problems which we cannot afford to see repeated with these services. We do not believe that it is in Cornwall's best interests to proceed with this plan."

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