Tory privatisation plans dealt blow in Cornwall
Conservative plans to privatise council services plans were dealt a fresh blow on Tuesday when the leader of Cornwall council was acrimoniously ousted for trying to push through a £300m sell-off.
The project to part-privatise services including libraries, benefits and payroll to either BT or CSC, the US IT services giant, is now in doubt after Alec Robertson, the Tory leader of the authority, was toppled by his fellow councillors. He faced a vote of no confidence at an extraordinary meeting in Truro which he lost 63 votes to 49.
The outsourcing programme was seen as a test bed for local authorities struggling to cope with 28% cuts in Whitehall budgets, but it faced widespread public opposition with 6,000 people signing a petition against it. Robertson had sought to defy a council vote last month calling for a rethink of the decision to enter into a partnership with the private sector. His deputy, Jim Currie, resigned last week, warning: "The financial risks involved with the rush into the new joint venture proposals are unacceptable. The joint venture is basically too large to control."...Read more