Street cleaning and rubbish collection could be outsourced to save money.

Proposals to change the way 'streetscene services' are delivered in Barnet were discussed last night at a meeting of Barnet Borough Council's environment committee.

The matter was referred to full council by the Labour councillors on the committee, who argued that the decision to contract out council services should be taken by all council members.

Woodhouse councillor Alan Schneiderman, Labour’s environment spokesman, said: “It’s clear that a decision has already been made to outsource it, because the papers refer to an alternative delivery model, which means outsourcing. I think it will lead to a worse service for residents and it’s dubious whether the savings will be achieved.

“The current model we have got is successful. They won’t consider the in-house options as a viable option alongside outsourcing. It’s all been done on the back of a fag packet, and councillors need to know what they are being asked to agree. At the moment we don’t.

"I think it was right to refer it to full council, and now all members will have an opportunity to have their say on yet more outsourcing of front line services."

Conservatives attacked the decision to refer the matter to full council, and said that the proposals did not rule out keeping the service as it is.

Golders Green councillor Dean Cohen, chairman of the environment committee, said: “Another week, another meeting, another decision ducked by Labour. In referring this item up to full council, not only are they again running from decisions and limiting debate, they are likely to delay or curtail the public consultation on the budget by kicking this issue back nearly a month. It was needless.

“Labour have no alternatives and no plan, yet are intent on hampering the council’s progress. Labour need to wake up to reality and start working constructively.”

The proposals will be discussed at the full council meeting on December 16. If they are agreed, they will then go to public consultation.