When I was first elected to the former Wiltshire County Council in 1989 the Council delivered a range of directly managed good public services. Following Local Government re-organisation in 1997 which saw Swindon become a Unitary Council, the controlling Lib-Dems and Tories began the push for more privatisation with the aim of moving the Council from a “Provider of Public Services” to a “Commissioner of Public Services”, from whichever Private Contractor “paid the least to the fewest”.

The Lib-Dems already had a track record of “Selling Off” Council Housing stock, so they continued with Adult Care, selling off Council Residential Care Homes and breaking-up the Council Home Care Service. The Tories, driven by political dogma took it forward privatising Grounds Maintenance Services, Catering Services, Cleaning Services, Highway Management and Maintenance Services and most recently Refuse Collection Services.

By every measure available the quality of those privatised public services has declined and we wait with horror for the next CCG Report on Failing Adult Care Provision. The Scandal of “paying people less” must end – it does nothing to help the Wiltshire Economy. As seen in their fantastic  work during the Covid-19 Pandemic, public service workers deserve better.

Labour will end this agenda of political dogma and review every Council Contract Renewal to evaluate the option to bring back services to Council Control and Delivery.


Cllr Ricky Rogers

Wiltshire Council Labour Group Leader

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