In response to Doncaster Voices of June 28, it is dismaying that the lease of Doncaster market to a private company is being given serious consideration.
Although the market has been in the doldrums in recent times, I have been heartened to see that the council properly recognises and values it once more. Credit for much of this work goes to council’s officers. Allowing a private company to sweep in and profit from this investment of effort and cash would represent a huge waste of the public money used to date. If the council continues to run the market, it will reap profits from the regeneration and from the ripple effect created in the town centre. The money could be re-invested in services in Doncaster. Profits made by a private company would drain straight out of Doncaster and into the coffers of fat cat companies with no local allegiance. Central government has put local under huge pressure to out-source so many of its services. Why voluntarily hand one of the town’s jewels to profiteers?
The involvement of the private sector in public services has been a disaster with sickening regularity. Contracts seem to be written in a ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ format. However agreeable the PR people might seem, the real business would be carried out in the shadows by the private company’s hard-nosed lawyers and accountants, caring only for how much money they can squeeze out of Doncaster taxpayers. They would ensure that the private company would be free at any time to declare the scheme unworkable and walk away, leaving the council and its taxpayers to pick up the pieces and foot the bill yet again. The mess created by Virgin Trains serves as a massive warning of the folly of handing over public assets to the private sector.
So, Doncaster Council, the town has developed for 770 years thanks to the charter allowing it to run its market. You’re already starting to make improvements- let’s keep the market and its income securely in Doncaster forever.