Herefordshire Council will move to sell off all public services, making thousands redundant, in plans currently being discussed by top bosses.
Disgruntled senior staff have approached the Heckler to tell us about plans that would see services like schools, libraries and health and social care privatised across the county.
These plans, if implemented, would follow other councils across the country that have become so called ‘cooperative councils’.
The idea, first mooted by Lambeth Council in London, is to sell services to voluntary organisations and private businesses. This privatisation of publicly funded bodies is seen as a solution to massive savings cuts ordered by the ConDem coalition.
But don’t think for a minute this is just another part of the Tory class war. No, the majority of councils that have gone down this route are Labour run.
One department facing the chop is Herefordshire’s youth services, currently under review by the same guy who recently closed many of Gloucestershire’s youth centres. Their argument is that hardly anyone turns up to youth centres so why keep them open. But this has a lot to do with the way that government dictates that youth centres should be run as informal schools rather than social clubs.
The ‘cooperative’ idea fits perfectly with the governments plan for their ‘big society’ AKA everyone doing the jobs they used to do but without getting paid. The propaganda claims that local people will be able to take over the running of essential services and play a greater part in how their community is run.
Sounds great having a charity or social enterprise taking over public resources doesn’t it? But what if the charity is a religious fundamentalist group like Freedom Church and they gain control of youth services? What about the involvement of private companies? Perhaps McDonalds would like to take over the running of school meals throughout the county!
It appears that nothing has been learned from previous privatisations. It won’t be long before we see a couple of big wealthy organisations with the money to undercut everyone else buying up all the services. This always happens when you allow the market to control an industry. How do you feel about having a portion of your taxes used to pay for shareholder dividends rather than frontline services?
When public services are run for profit there will be an inevitable reduction in quality and standards. These are the concerns of the council employees who have been contacting us.