More privatisation likely as county council struggles to keep services going £240m ‘car crash’ of cuts
firstname.lastname@example.org Kent County Council yesterday (Wednesday) revealed how it intends to plug an estimated £240 million funding hole over the next four years.
The ruling Conservative administration said the continuing public sector spending squeeze means it will have to radically re-model the way services are provided.
It is likely to mean more outsourcing and privatisation of services to a mix of private contractors, businesses, voluntary groups and so-called social entrepreneurs.
Council leaders argue the move represents the least-worst option and that, on its own, KCC would be unable to deliver the scale of savings needed over the next four years.
It has already stripped out £350m from its budget over the last four years.
However, the prospect of further privatisation will trigger claims it risks contractors and private companies cherry-picking services to run and ignoring those not commercially valuable.
KCC leader Cllr Paul Carter (Con) recently warned of a “car crash round the corner” after the
‘I am not prepared to put up the white flag until we have really squeezed efficiencies’
government announced budgets for town halls would be slashed by a further 10%.
He said: “I am determined to make sure that we listen to our customers and preserve the services they value.
“That includes non-statutory services.
“I am not prepared to put up the white flag until we have really squeezed efficiencies out of the organisation.”
Cllr Carter added: “Just because you are spending less money does not lead to the conclusion that you will end up with inferior services.”
David Lloyd, secretary of the Kent branch of Unison, said: “There are inherent problems with outsourcing and privatisation, as the experience of other councils has shown.”
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County council leader Cllr Paul Carter