Privatisation debate cost council £4m

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Councillors have faced criticism for spending three years and nearly £4 million on plans to privatise a batch of council services only to throw out the proposals and keep them in-house instead.

At a meeting at the City Chambers, SNP councillors opposed their Liberal Democrat coalition colleagues and voted to reject plans to privatise services including janitors, school meals, cleaners and porters and look for savings while keeping them within the council instead.

Mitie, the company that council officials wanted to hand the “integrated facilities management” contract to, said that the decision had stopped the creation of 200 new local jobs, as well as up to £114m of savings for the taxpayer.

Another contract, for “corporate and transactional services” was rejected by all parties.

It emerged today that the process, which started in February 2009, has cost the taxpayer £3.8m.

Tory councillor Alastair Paisley said: “The taxpayer has been taken for a ride.”