In an announcement on Saturday last, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP unveiled a commitment from the next Labour Government to end the outsourcing of council services to private contractors, described by many as the biggest shake-up of local government ‘since the 1980s’ [https://bit.ly/30M3UjP].
As part of these proposals, it was made clear the 7 benefits of doing so, including cost savings, improved accountability, greater scope for service coordination, and enhanced risk management. In the context of the collapse of Carillion last year – now estimated to cost taxpayers £148 million [https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44383224] – we must make all local service provision accountable and better-coordinated in order to avoid this situation happening again.
John McDonnell MP said “It’s time to end the outsourcing scandal which has seen private companies rip off the taxpayer, degrade our public services and put people at risk whilst remaining wholly unaccountable to the people who rely on and fund these services.”
Whilst many services run by Stevenage Borough Council are already run and operated directly by the Council, Tory-controlled Hertfordshire County Council have outsourced services that Labour will bring back into the Council’s direct control, such as school dinner provision and road/cycleway maintenance.
Jill Borcherds, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for the Stevenage Constituency welcomed the plans, saying: “The outsourcing of public services to private companies has led to their delivery being based on profit, rather than public need, often leaving services unaccountable to the public. Whilst the Tories continue slashing funding to local councils, and our local Conservative MP consistently attacks local government, as your MP, I would support fully measures such as this to de-privatise local service provision, and campaign for higher council funding.”