Outsource giants Sodexo will be invited to give evidence to Scrutiny investigation into HMP Acklington ‘privatisation’ as Labour raise concerns over ‘closing down sale’ before GE 2015.
Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary candidate in North Northumberland Scott Dickinson welcomed moves that could see a ‘parliamentary style select committee investigation’ into the controversial coalition decision to outsource HMP Acklington with the loss of 350 local jobs. He also highlighted the decision to sell off Search and Rescue at RAF Boulmer and the East Coast mainline franchise as evidence that the coalition were engaged in a ‘closing down sale’ in advance of GE 2015.
His proposal to set up the study into the effects of the privatisation on North Northumberland would see trade unions and the company invited to give evidence setting out the potential pitfalls and the plans by Sodexo for the site and the community.
Scott has written to the Chair of the Scrutiny Panel to seek approval to kick start the study and has already indicated that he would be prepared to use the position of Business Chair to undertake the investigation if the scrutiny panel decide to block the plan.
‘It’s clear that the decision by the coalition to privatise HMP Acklington will have far ranging implications for North Northumberland and I believe we need to get to the bottom of the plans for the prison. I think it’s vitally important that we understand the issues for the communities of North Northumberland and that’s why I’m urging the Scrutiny Panel to look at the impact of the privatisation on the area and the public purse. It’s clear that we face significant problems with the whole concept of mass privatisation in our county with East Coast rail and Search and Rescue at Boulmer already lined up to be sold off. Nobody seems to be speaking up for the people who will lose out as the coalition flog off all and sundry in a closing down sale before the GE 2015’.