Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Ipswich Film Theatre Fiasco

Yet another example of rushed through but not thought out policy by this Tory led (with Lib Dem support) administration.
This follows on last from last year when they tried to privatise the street cleaning service, then made a bodged attempt at new parking permits and more recently the decision to cut the Ipswich bus service . Now it is an attempt at privatising the Ipswich Film Theatre.
They probably thought they would get away with it now they have got rid of the lone Labour voice on the Council executive. But the Labour Group did find out and have now let this sorry story into the public domain. Here is more on the story from the Ipswich Labour Party Constituency website;
Ipswich Borough Council has been forced to reconsider its decision to privatise the management of Ipswich Film Theatre after concerns emerged about the business plan of the winning bid. Labour councillors have forced the council to reconsider the decision.The decision by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat run-Council was taken at a behind-closed-doors meeting on 24th May.
Opposition Labour councillors, who were not allowed to participate in the meeting, have since discovered that the winning bid appears to underestimate the costs involved, overestimate the amount of income that will be generated and does not conform to the council’s invitation to tender. Labour councillors are concerned that the number of specialist films shown at the Film Theatre could be cut by up to a half under the successful bid.The entire meeting where the decision was taken to privatise the Film Theatre management was rushed through in less than fifteen minutes. No councillors asked any questions, only one had read the invitation to tender document and none had read any of the bids. Labour leisure spokesperson John Mowles ( said: “There are so many unanswered questions about the winning bid that the Tories and Liberal Democrats must reconsider their decision. If the council doesn’t get this right it could mean the end of dedicated specialist film screenings in Ipswich.”Ipswich's Overview and Scrutiny Committee will now be examining the plan in detail.The last ideologically driven privatisation attempt by Ipswich Borough Council was of StreetCare services. Eventually the Lib-Cons running Ipswich Borough Council were forced to admit their preferred option would cost more, and they had to back down!

What is strange is the silence of Lib Dem Councilor, Andrew Cann. He is the (self appointed) leading Lib Dem in Ipswich who left Labour to join the party of no principles in a blaze of (self made) publicity when he released a story that the Ipswich Corn Exchange (in which the Film Theatre sits) was under threat from a Labour run administration. No press release from him this week about this bodged attempt at privatising the management of the Film Theatre by his own party!

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