BACKBENCHERS at Cornwall Council opposing plans to hand services to a private company have asked the public to support their campaign.
A cross-party group which put forward the motion opposing the plans at full council last week has set up a petition repeating call for the council to back away from the project.
If 1,000 people sign the petition the issue would have to be considered again by one of the council's scrutiny committees and 5,000 signatures would force a full council debate.
The petition has been set up by independent councillor Andrew Wallis and Mebyon Kernow councillor Andrew Long who proposed and seconded, respectively, the original motion at last week's council meeting.
It has also been supported by Councillors Jude Robinson (Labour), Geoff Brown (Lib Dem) and Graham Walker (Ind) – all three of whom supported the original motion.
Mr Wallis said: "We need to get as many signatures as possible to show the true feelings of the people of Cornwall.
"If we don't get the signatures we need it weakens our case to try and stop these proposals becoming reality.
"We need public support to show the Cabinet what the people of Cornwall want. Of course, on the flipside, if we don't get many signatures it will show that people are not bothered or that they do want to have council services handed over to a private firm."
He added: "These are our core services which we could lose overall control over – services like council tax benefit, libraries and one stop shops, all services which I believe should remain in-house and under the control of the council.
"If this goes ahead we will lose that control and I don't believe that is in the interests of the people of Cornwall."
Mrs Robinson, who sat on the single issue panel which has had a number of in-depth meetings, discussions and penned a 26-page report on the project, said she was concerned about the level of detail behind the proposals. She said: "Alec Robertson said at the full council meeting that there was confidential information which many councillors hadn't seen which would have changed the debate which saw a majority vote against this project.
"Our panel has seen all that information and we held a lot of our meetings in private session and I can't think of a single thing which would have changed the direction of that debate and vote.
"He said that there was nothing new in the debate, but the questions being raised have not been answered.
"The idea that we can save 20 per cent in the first two years and then 5 per cent year on year is not backed up by any hard evidence – a child could see that that saving is not achievable."
Hard copies are also available by contacting Mr Wallis at firstname.lastname@example.org