Scotland’s councils deliver the services upon which we all rely. From childcare to care for our elderly and vulnerable, keeping our streets lit and emptying our bins helping us to stay fit and our children to learn local Government is at the heart of Scottish society.
Local government services have borne the brunt of austerity and this must stop. Of the 50,000 jobs cut in the public sector in recent years 40,000 have been in local Government. The next round of cuts will be worse for local government with thousands more lob losses planned.
This year local government across Scotland will be expected to make £500m worth of cuts, in real terms. This is simply unsustainable – both in terms of service delivery and impact on staff. Redundancy up until now has been voluntary, and UNISON’s opposition to compulsory redundancy is and will remain absolute, but the needs of the remaining staff must be taken into account. Piling the same, or often an increased level of work on a smaller staff is both unfair, inefficient and will lead to poorer services.
Services need to be funded properly and the Scottish Government should use all of the means at its disposal including its tax raising powers to ensure that local government is funded adequately to deliver the services that Scotland needs.