Council sell-off anger reaches Labour conference floor

ANGER over the proposed out-sourcing of services at Suffolk County Council reached the floor of the Labour Party Conference when the Tory administration was described as “a circus act with no safety net.”

Former county council leader Bryony Rudkin told the conference about the county’s attempts to sell off – or divest – all its services leaving just a few hundred contract managers at Endeavour House.

She said: “It is one huge experiment. The Conservative administration is behaving like a circus act with no safety net.

“There are no contingency plans if their brave new world goes wrong. Nothing to ensure that vulnerable people continue to get the services they need.”

She attacked what she saw as the complacency of Conservative councillors who were keen to involve the voluntary sector.

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She said: “At the council meeting last Thursday, one Conservative said his village had come together to build a new doctor’s surgery.

“That might be fine in the nice comfortable villages but who’s going to come together to build the doctor’s surgery in my area of Ipswich where there are some quite serious deprivation issues?” She asked.

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Earlier UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis had praised our coverage of the proposed changes at the county council for bringing the radical reform to public attention.

He said: “As one of the key ways people find out about things happening in their area, local papers like the EADT are really important to communities.

“And now more than ever, the people of Suffolk need to know the truth about the county council’s damaging plans.

“They need to know that the council’s plans to sell off vital local services like child protection, leaving them to the vagaries of the market, will be a disaster for this community.

“And that this ideology-driven agenda will see vital local jobs lost, just as Suffolk needs a helping hand to recover from the recession.

“At Labour conference this week, UNISON is making the case for public services, and calling for an alternative approach to the economy that supports growth and ensures recovery.

“Instead of making hardworking people pay the price for the recession, the government should be making the bankers and super-rich pay their fair share.

“Introducing a Robin Hood Tax on the banks that caused this crisis would raise �30 billion – 15 times what the government’s planned bank levy will add to the country’s coffers.”

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