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A local authority dubbed “EasyCouncil” for its radical cost-cutting plans has named Capita as preferred bidder in a £320m deal under which hundreds of its staff will be transferred to the private sector and a swath of council functions outsourced. The London borough of Barnet is seen as a pioneer of Conservative thinking in pursuing far-reaching reforms to address deep cuts in public spending. However, its policies have sparked public criticism and prompted charges from Labour that the scale of privatisation is unnecessary and risky. Financial Times