Shropshire Council’s private company ip&e featured on Sunday Politics this morning. The company was set up three years ago as a way of cutting costs and making money for the council. Since then, it has been dogged by controversy over its secrecy and whether it can make significant money.
The Sunday Politics segment features Ludlow campaigner Joyce Brand, myself and Catherine Staite from Birmingham University’s Institute of Local Government, and Joanne Gallacher from the BBC.
Missing from the cast was Shropshire Council leader Keith Barrow, who is also chairman of ip&e. According to the BBC, he agreed to be interviewed, cancelled, agreed again and cancelled again for “personal reasons”. Fair enough, although he was in Shirehall on Friday morning when the interview was due to take place. I am sure the Beeb would have turned out to Abbey Foregate film him. In any event, he has a deputy leader and there are four other directors of ip&e. Surely one these could have substituted for him?
Ludlow MP Philip Dunne also appeared on Sunday Politics was. He made much of ip&e being subject to freedom of information requests. That right, but he failed to mention that Keith Barrow has castigated some of these FoI requests as “bizarre”.