No plans in place to turn to private sector
Published at 09:09, Monday, 23 July 2012
NORTHUMBERLAND Tory leader Coun. Jackson’s latest attempt to mislead residents was a classic of the genre (Courant Letters, July 6).
Apparently the Lib Dem administration has a plan to ‘sign away the entire county council operation to a private company’. There is no such plan.
All we are doing is talking to private sector companies about whether they might be interested in running elements of the councils operations, so called ‘soft market testing’ – no plans have been drawn up, nothing has been decided.
If good plans are ever produced to work with the private sector the administration has said time after time that a decision of this importance would come before full council, where either the Tories or Labour would have to vote with us to back it for it to happen.
The leader of the council hasn’t said if he is in favour of any private partnership, simply because no business case has been drawn up yet for him to look at.
Of course, politics abhors a vacuum so Coun. Jackson merrily fills it with exaggerations, half truths and outright lies.
At the same time the council is hard at work looking at all the cost savings options to help it meet the challenging savings targets set out by the Government over the next five years.
The alternative to savings and better management is widespread service cuts, which the administration has worked hard to avoid over the past four years.
In the council chamber Coun. Jackson has a totally different face to that of the outspoken critic depicted in the papers. He put forward a moderate motion at the last council meeting calling for cross party co-operation on private partnerships, something we have been begging the opposition to do with us for ages. That’s why the Lib Dem group joined with all councillors in unanimously approving his motion.
If the Lib Dem group on the council is so economically irresponsible why has Coun. Jackson never voted against our budget proposals for four years in a row?
I am increasingly finding myself agreeing with what many intimidated backbench Conservative councillors tell me privately – that Coun. Jackson says one thing and then does another.
Being a councillor isn’t a game; it is about working together to make the right decisions in the interests of the residents we are all elected to serve.
COUN. NEIL BRADBURY,
Northumberland County Council and executive member for customer relations and culture
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk