COUN Judith Wallace really should apologise for her misleading letter (News Guardian, August 16) entitled ‘Opposition has not been ‘excluded’ from process’ – the process being the preparation for the now agreed privatisation of most of North Tyneside Council’s services.
Under the mayoral system opposition members were excluded from having any role in the most important part of the process, which was the final decision-making meeting.
The decision was not made by full council but at a mayor and cabinet member only meeting held, as Coun Wallace said, behind closed doors.
True, all 40 opposition members could have attended, but only as spectators for we have no voice or vote in that setting.
I have taken every opportunity offered to be involved in the rest of the process.
I visited the other councils to see the implications, attended the follow up meeting and the presentation sessions held by the two bidders (the ones Coun Wallace said we did not), been to evening meetings organised by senior council officers, read letters from the unions, discussed the issues with other Labour councillors, and read the confidential report that went to the cabinet meeting.
In all of these I can find nothing to convince me that the decision made to bring profit-making big businesses into providing public services in North Tyneside on the scale agreed is going to make savings or improve the quality of life for the people I represent.
Only recently do we learn that Cumbria County Council is the latest to take back control of services (in this case highway services) after seven years with a private organisation.
You only have to look at what is happening at the moment with local private bus operators who are leaving abandoned bus stops and people stranded with cuts and changes to bus services to understand what being run by the private sector really means.
COUN MURIEL GREEN
North Tyneside Council