We in BARNET ALLIANCE FOR PUBLIC SERVICES are genuinely distressed to hear of Lynn Hillan’s illness. Our opposition to the policies which her administration has been pursuing is well-known. But we are sincere in our sympathy for her suffering and that of her family. It is for this reason that we have suspended the protest we had planned at the Barnet council AGM on May 17th.

Nevertheless we think that the council’s one-track policy – “cut, charge and privatise” – has already done a great deal of damage, and if continued will be a disaster for the local population. Perhaps now would be a good time for reflection all round, for a change of heart, perhaps for a radical rethink of the massively unpopular ONE BARNET plan: the plan to hand over our council services to private investors and multinational corporations.

The Conservative council in Bury was planning a similar scheme but failed to get the support of the electors and lost the council to Labour in the recent elections. Brighton & Hove’s privatisation plans were also rejected by the local population and the Conservatives lost their majority. In Suffolk, the policy came crashing down without a change of administration. Under sustained pressure from both council residents and workers, the Conservatives threw out their old leader, sent their £218.000-a-year Chief Executive on extended gardening leave and abandoned its ‘virtual council’ plan to outsource all services to local social enterprises and charities – an idea which

“had signally failed to win the hearts and minds of the public, staff or many councillors, even Conservative ones.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/joepublic/2011/may/10/all-over-local-government-reform?CMP=twt_gu

Even the Government itself is having second thoughts: the Guardian newspaper reported a leaked memo [marked ‘secret and confidential’] admitting that it is “scaling back its plans to privatise swathes of the public sector for fear of appearing to be in favour of private companies excessively profiting from the taxpayer.”


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