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Thursday, 19 September, 2002, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
Anger at council sell-off plan
The future of Talkin Tarn country park is in doubt
A host of public services could be privatised under radical plans to save millions of pounds in Cumbria.

Unions have criticised controversial plans to privatise care services, sell off tourist attractions and part-privatise street lighting and refuse collection.

Council bosses are considering proposals from management consultants PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which include a two-year programme of cuts.

County council bosses say the cuts will make the authority more effective.

Birdoswald roman fort
Birdoswald Roman Fort may be sold off

Recommendations include privatising Cumbria Care, rubbish collection and selling off some tourist attractions.

Among the attractions earmarked for privatisation are Cumbria Outdoors and Eskdale Mill.

The council is also looking at hiving off Talkin Tarn, near Carlisle, which features 120 acres of woodland and a 65 acre lake.

The council may also transfer ownership of the Birdoswald Roman fort to a university with an archaeology faculty specialising in Roman history.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader of the council, Mike Ash, said: "This is purely about making the council more effective."

But Stuart Moules, branch secretary of the public service union Unison, said: "We don't think private operators should have a role in running public services.

"We will try to persuade the council that retaining control of public services is best for the people of Cumbria."

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Stuart Moules, branch secretary of Unison
"Services should not be given to the private sector"

Click here to go to BBC Cumbria
See also:

12 Sep 02 | Politics
07 Aug 02 | England
14 Feb 02 | Scotland
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