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Local Government Services (Privatisation)

Volume 14: debated on Monday 30 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in his formulation of policy relating to the privatisation of local authority services, he will take steps to monitor the privatisation of Southend borough council's refuse and street cleaning services.

While we do not propose any formal monitoring exercise, we are taking a close interest in the new arrangements.

be carried out except at disproportionate cost. The information available is shown in the following table, omitting life insurance premiums to repay house purchase loans, tax relief on those premiums, owner-occupiers' transaction costs, and ground rents, for which estimates are not readily available. Figures are not yet to hand for 1980–81.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he proposes to take further steps to encourage a greater role for private enterprise in operating local government services;(2) if he will issue new guidelines to local authorities regarding the privatisation of local government services;(3) if he has sought information from local authorities as to the extent to which they have privatised their services;(4) what studies have been made by his Department concerning the role of private enterprise in operating local government services.

The report of a study commissioned by my Department from management consultants Cooper and Lybrand Associates Limited has recently been published which indicates the potential role of the private sector in operating local government services and the extent to which a sample of authorities have contracted out their local environmental services. I believe that there is considerable scope for local authorities to improve their efficiency and cost-effectiveness if they are prepared to involve the private sector more closely in the provision of their services, and I will be considering what further steps might be taken to encourage authorities to contract out more of their services in the light of this report.Copies of the consultants' report, entitled "Service Provision and Pricing in Local Government", have been placed in the Library of the House.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those authorities which have privatised their cleansing and refuse departments.

The extent to which local authorities have contracted out their cleaning and refuse collection operations is not formally monitored centrally. However, the following authorities are known to have contracted out a proportion of their refuse collection service, including bulky household waste, in 1979–80:

Basildon, Brighton, Camden, Carlisle, Chorley, Corby, Fenland, Hartlepool Maldon, Mid-Bedfordshire, Newbury, Pendle, Reading, Redditch, Rossendale, Rugby, Rushcliffe, South Oxfordshire, Spelthorne, Stoke-on-Trent, Wansbeck and Wear Valley.
Other authorities, including Southend borough council, have entered into arrangements with contractors to undertake the whole or part of their cleansing operation in the current financial year or are considering doing so.