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Unite slams Lancashire council plan to hand £104 million contract to Virgin Care

TORY Lancashire County Council’s decision to hand a £104 million contract for youth health services to Richard Branson’s Virgin Care in the wake of Carillion’s collapse was attacked yesterday by Unite.

The union called on the council to think again after the authority opted to give the company a five-year contract to provide community health services for children and young people.

The union argued that, in the light of the collapse of outsourcing giant Carillion, which had billions of pounds worth of public service contracts, the council should reconsider.

Profit-hungry Virgin Care receives more than £1 billion in taxpayers’ cash for the provision of health services across Britain.

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “The collapse of Carillion, which had many NHS contracts, including managing 11,800 beds, has brought the outsourcing of public services to profit-hungry private companies into disrepute.

“Virgin Care has been like a cash-hungry octopus, with its tentacles grabbing more than £1 billion worth of NHS contracts. We think there needs to be greater transparency surrounding Virgin Care’s finances.”

The council said the contract was on hold because of legal challenges.

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