In a relatively small article in this weeks East Anglian Daily Times the people of Suffolk were told of the imminent sale of more of Suffolk County Councils services. This time it is the turn of our hard working public sector personnel who keep our roads well lit and free from ice and snow, amongst other things. Known as the Highways Department the 'deal' could hit £500 million over a 10 year period. This figure was not mentioned in the paper.
Some 200 staff will be transferred to Balfour Beatty. Yes thats right. The firm who lost a High Court injunction earlier this year having threatened to sack all staff who refused to sign up to new lesser terms and conditions.
In Suffolk too we have seen significant redundancies announced just a month after SERCO were given our Community Health Care services to run. SERCO also have a chequered background when it comes to workers rights, having lost a similar High Court injunction. Our Council Care Homes have just been sold to the private firm Care UK. G4S have a foot in the door of our police service through the provision of medical services as part of the new custody facilities.
This week also saw an Early Day Motion (No 773) put forward by Grahame Morris Labour MP for Easington, Chair of
LabourLeft and a member of the House of Commons health select committee. Mr Morris is rightly concerned about the role of lobbying firms and their influence; the procurement model that favours private firms; the lucrative contracts given to previous government health advisers; the unfair advantage given to private firms and the ability of private firms not to comply with FOI requests eroding transparency and accountability to the public.
Seems to me that here in Suffolk the sell off of public services is happening at pace with little public debate.
These are our services are they not? Paid for by our taxes are they not?
I've written to my MP Tim Yeo asking him to support the EDM - why don't you write to yours?