Just three weeks after Falkirk Council awarded Dial a Journey the title of “Partnership of the Year” the organisation who provide transport to hundreds of Falkirk’s disabled and vulnerable residents saw their 20 year agreement torn up with the private sector being lined up to take over.
Despite the fact the organisation had seen an 8% cut in funding from the council they had dramatically improved their own performance levels over the last two years and expected this to be recognised by the council.
Now Falkirk Council are committed to seeking private sector competition for the charity that could see the cost of the service rise dramatically or the level of service cut.
There was hush in the chamber as the charity made a last ditch plea to the Labour / Tory Administration not to tear up their Service Level Agreement and place at risk not only 70 jobs but also a valued service to disabled people.. However, Labour and their Tory allies were in no mood to show any mercy to their recently crowned “partnership of the year”.
Instead Labour’s fixation with the private sector moved into a higher gear and the right wing drift to the political right continues at pace.
Speaking for the SNP spokesperson for Social Care and long term champion for disabled rights, Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, said,
“If the council think the private sector can provide the same level of care and service as Dial a Journey they are seriously deluded.
What will happen is that service levels will be cut and the cost to the users will increase dramatically.
At least Labour and Tory Councillors are consistent in that it is elderly and disabled people who have faced continued attacks from this Administration. Higher transport costs will be added to new charges for services such as Homecare, MECS and the Home Shopping Service, previously free under the SNP.”
Hope was extended to Dial a Journey with the timetable set down by Labour and Tory Councillors that anticipates the service being put out to tender early in 2013.
The SNP member pledged to scrap the tender and reinstate the partnership I the event of the SNP winning control of the council next May when the authority goes to the polls.