Public will pay if we banish private-sector efficiency

Posted On 30 Oct 2018 at 6:31 pm

Take a quick look at your surroundings and you will see that almost everything you own, and services you use, are provided by dynamic private companies.

Who would ever suggest that the government, and especially the local council, could provide these goods and services?

There are “public goods”, such as road repairs and waste collections, that are paid for from our taxes, and these can be delivered by a mix of private companies or the council. Yes, we live in a “mixed economy”.

This highly competitive environment has enabled us to enjoy hitherto undreamed of living standards while a proportion of our taxes has been allocated to provide a safety net for those in society who are unable to benefit from this dynamic environment.

This is why I was shocked by a 2017 Labour manifesto commitment stating: “We will act to ‘insource’ our public and local council services as preferred providers.”

Jeremy Corbyn, and his Momentum-backed followers, have decided that local councils will, if they were to take power, not just pay for but also deliver all of our council services even if they are less efficient, potentially wasting billions.

Ten years ago, the Conservative administration in Brighton and Hove signed a contract with Mears Group to perform the maintenance on council owned housing and leasehold stock.

Acknowledging that any large contract will always have flaws, the Mears contract resulted in 100 per cent of council homes now meeting the Decent Homes Standard and over £100 million saved through efficiencies that was spent on making further improvements to our housing stock.

A couple of weeks ago the Labour administration won a vote in committee, supported by the Greens, that enabled the signing of a contract for the delivery of maintenance repairs that would be provided by – and incredibly checked by – the council.

Council officers also admitted that this contract would also cost an extra £3 million to deliver over the next five years. Wow!

Labour, and its Momentum backers, are expecting to take control of the council next May. I shudder to think how much more would they be able to waste should we allow this to happen.

Councillor Tony Janio is the leader of the opposition Conservative group on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Justin Reply

    Perhaps if we were to get rid of all the private companies cashing in on what were traditionally council services, the work would actually be carried out to an acceptable standard, as it was prior to all this “privatisation” lunacy.

    As just one example, roads and pavements are continually dug up and repaired badly, necessitating remedial work within just a few weeks. Grass verges are no longer trimmed.

    I could go on, but what’s the point when “cronyism” goes all the way to the top?

    • Paul Perrin Reply

      Why would ‘the council’ do any better job? The private sector companies are at least signed up to a ‘service level agreement’ with compensation for short falls, enforced through the court is necessary (if ‘the council’ have been competent in writing the contracts).

      When internal council services fail to meet standards they automatically cover up, pass the buck and blame others. ‘The Council’ can never admit they made errors or failed, so they never do.

      Half of Brighton say Labour have been bad, half of Brighton say Labour have been bad, everyone denies ever having supported the Greens — and every one is right.

      The stale old legacy parties must go.

      Brexit means a new political horizon for the UK – and those who kept us in all this time have no place on our future.

  2. Richard Reply

    Capita, G4S, Serco.. Carillion? Are these the inept private monopolies I mean “dynamic private companies” Councillor Tony Janio has in mind?

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