Wednesday, 3 April 2013

One Barnet will cost the local economy £14 million and 397 jobs

Ever since the decision to award the One Barnet contract to Capita,  we have been trying to ascertain the true cost to staff and jobs. A letter from Barnet Council to Unions, passed to the Barnet Eye reveals the massive scale of job losses. Out of *597 posts currently providing Council services to Barnet residents only 200 will remain within the borough of Barnet, meaning *397 jobs in Barnet will be lost. 

The number of job losses in our community is significantly much higher than was being claimed by the council when the contract was first announced in December 2012.

Did this have to happen?
No, Barnet Council could have inserted a clause into the contract which stated the Council would only consider bids which promised to bring jobs to their community. This is not an uncommon factor when councils are looking at outsourcing as an option. Indeed Capita have recently won a contract with Staffordshire County Council to deliver services which includes a commitment to bring 1,613 additional jobs to their community.

In most other communities, local politicians campaign to bring jobs to the area, not take them away. You may wonder what the true cost to the local economy is. The average London wage (according to the BBC The loss of 397 jobs in the borough (assuming that they are paid the London average) will cost the Barnet economy up to  £14 million. That is money not being spent in shops, cafes and restaurants. As most readers are aware, this is at a time of economic hardship.  At a time when jobs are hard to come by, that means local shops will suffer. Many of these staff are main breadwinners in households with children, meaning more social depravation in Barnet. One should consider that people who have built their careers in local government, may find it difficult to find employment in the private sector as their skill sets are completely different. What is even more galling is that these jobs will still be paid for by the Barnet Council Tax payer, but to promote economic activity in other parts of the country or even abroad. For shopkeepers and local traders who will lose trade, One Barnet is really a hidden stealth tax. 

Perhaps the worst aspect of this export of jobs is that Barnet are paying Capita's shareholders a premium to export these jobs. Capita shareholders expect the company to make a decent return on their investment, so the taxpayer is subsidising a private company to do this. As far as the Barnet Eye is concerned, such a project is economic madness. Is this really what you voted for at the 2010 Council elections? Probably not as the local Conservative Party neglected to mention the One Barnet outsourcing in their manifesto.

* Still awaiting a decision for Procurement services (12 posts)

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