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‘No frills’ to save £50m from Brighton and Hove Council budget – a ‘toxic’ idea
A "no frills' model of running council services should be looked at to save money.
The Conservative group on Brighton and Hove City Council is urging bosses to be “open minded” about how to save more than £50 million in the coming years. This includes looking at the London Borough of Barnet, which has introduced a controversial “no-frills” form of local government along the lines of budget airlines.
But Green and Labour members have criticised the suggestion, which has seen the majority of services, such as libraries, bin collections and social care handed over to private firms.
After raising the idea in a town hall meeting Conservative councillor Tony Janio said: “The bottom line should be what delivers the best service and the best value for money for council taxpayers and that must be objectively assessed on a case by case basis.
“Barnet council believes that they can save £12 million a year by outsourcing their back-office functions and all we are saying is that it would be pretty narrow-minded and irresponsible not to even look into that model to see if it could work in Brighton and Hove.”
Labour councillor Warren Morgan said some were “horrified” at the Barnet suggestion, where 70% of services have been handed over to private firm Capita in a £1 billion deal.
Councillor Morgan said: “Once handed over to private companies many of these basic local services will only be available to residents who can afford to pay the private company’s fees.”
Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “We’re seeing the impact of the toxic rhetoric that Eric Pickles keeps on expounding on and [with Coun Janio] we’re seeing a mini Pickles.”
The council’s budget plans for 2013/14 are expected to be unveiled later this week ahead of being decided at a crunch town hall meeting on February 28.
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