Conservatives local government agenda in chaos….
Left Foot Forward has this piece which highlights a ‘fresh headache’ for David Cameron as plans for ‘easyJet’ councils have been ruled illegal. If you want a flavour of what a Conservative national government would look like then you have to look no further than these proposals which would;
have seen provision of key services slashed, with wealthy residents able to jump the queue for planning applications and rubbish collections.
However, The Times reports;
after a High Court judgment last month, the London Tory-run council has had to rethink plans to cut the number of live-in wardens in sheltered housing.
So, giving people choice equates to allowing the rich to jump the que; this is not exactly surprising and should be seen as a blueprint for Conservative Party policy nationally. Indeed, Barnet Council is now looking to an incoming Cameron government to pass the necessary legislation to allow its proposals to be implemented.
However, Conservative councils are more than willing to spend money where needs be as Leeds City Council proves with its more than £ 8 million spent on consultants. The justification for this use of consultants is interesting because it rather nails the myth that the private sector and schemes like PFI provide more ‘cost-effiecent’ solutions than the state could ever provide;
“They [the consultants] have also been utilised to provide specialist professional technical, financial and legal expertise in the development, negotiation and delivery of major Private Finance Initiative contracts. Consultants have also been used to provide specialist services and to carry out a number of specific assignments, such as carrying out specific research projects and providing specialist advice on major transactions and operations.
Remember this is the council that insisted on so savagely cutting refuse workers salaries to the point of forcing strike action. It remains to be seen what effect the judgement will have on Conservatives in local government but one would hardly expect them to be discouraged. It is little wonder that Labour has started to capitalise on this weakness with its Tory Stories website. It is just a shame that here in Leeds we are narrating and aiding a ‘Tory Story’ of our own….