The Bickerstaffe Record

Being Labour, Cotterill on the Council, Leisure and culture

The Council and its shareholders

08.28.09 | 1 Comment

For West Lancashire Conservatives supposedly in charge of West Lancashire Borough Council, shareholder interests come before those of its citizens.

In July, a massive package of cuts was announced, with 57 jobs losses.  In the run up to that decision, I asked senior officers whether Serco Leisure Operating Ltd, which has a £1million per year subsidy from the council to run the leaisure and sports centres, had been contacted about a renogotiation of their 15 year contract to reflect the administration’s view that it was short of money, nothwitstanding its 12 million in disposable reserves.

No, I was told, the council already has a good deal with Serco. 

This in itself is nonsense, as I demonstrated here with my analysis of falling usage and deliberately incorrect reporting of price hikes since Serco took its contract. 

But more tellingly, a refusal even to talk to Serco about putting something back into the local authority in its time of need reflects the council’s real priorities – privatise where possible, regardless of the consequences, and stay true to the ideological stance that, whatever the consequences for residents, the shareholders must come first.

And of course, this is simply a repeat performance of the under 16 swimmng debacle, where Serco offered no contribution to make sure the scheme happened, and then the Conservatives have the gall to talk about an unbridgeable ‘gap in funding’

If you don’t ask, for ideological reasons, you don’t get.

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