Labour wants to end outsourcing of council services

Bin collection
Image caption Bin collections are one of the outsourced council services Labour has targeted

Labour wants councils in England to carry out services themselves rather than employ private firms, the shadow chancellor has said.

John McDonnell said he wants to limit the outsourcing of services such as bin collections by obliging councils to run them when existing private contracts expire.

Cleaning and school dinners could also be taken back in-house under the plans.

The government said decisions should be left with local councils.

The Confederation of British Industry said Labour’s proposal was “an extreme move devoid of evidence yet dripping in dogma”.

In a speech on Saturday, Mr McDonnell said outsourced contracts were costly and lacked accountability as decisions were often made “behind closed doors”.

He added: “It is the business model of outsourcing which is broken and that is why it needs replacing.

“Remember we’ve had the experience of Carillion, for example, collapses and you have something like 200 schools who have been affected, large numbers of councils, things not being built, services not being delivered and people being laid off.”

Mr McDonnell said changing the law to ensure services are brought back in-house would be achievable within the first term of a new parliament.

He would expect councils to comply with the plan unless there were “significant” barriers to doing so.

Mr McDonnell added: “It’s the councillors who are demanding this change.

“If you look at example after example, where the council themselves say ‘look, we’ve had enough of being ripped off by private contractors, we’ve had enough of poor service’.

“They have brought things in-house already and they have saved money and had a more efficient service.”

A spokesman for Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “It should be left for local councils and communities to decide which services to outsource, not Mr McDonnell.”

Matthew Fell, CBI chief UK policy director, said: “Rejecting the innovation, investment and cost savings suppliers can bring to vital public services and infrastructure is an extreme move devoid of evidence yet dripping in dogma.

“The vast majority of public-private partnerships are successful, delivering investment and high quality services.”



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