Date: Thursday 13 February 2014
The double whammy of austerity measures and the council tax freeze has left local government in Scotland bearing the brunt of cuts.
Local councils across Scotland are setting their budgets for 2014-15. Communities across Scotland will see services being cut.
There have been 39,300 job losses in local government in Scotland out of a total of 49,500 job losses across the public sector in Scotland. Local government is the only major Scottish spending portfolio to take a cash cut since the crash.
The union says cutting any vital services – which is a direct result of UK coalition government’s unnecessary austerity measures and the Scottish government’s council tax freeze – is not the way forward. Local people should have a say in their local services and should not feel powerless in the process. It is also the most vulnerable who will be most affected.
Mark Ferguson, Chair of UNISON’s Local Government Committee, said: “Local government makes up half of the public sector workforce, yet accounts for 8 in 10 of the job cuts. These cuts are completely unnecessary and terrible for our communities. It is the most vulnerable for example the elderly, disabled, and young unemployed who feel it the most. And its ordinary families already struggling with cost of living increases who have to stump up extra for increased charges for services like bulk refuse uplift, swimming and leisure services and school breakfast clubs“
UNISON is calling for:
- councils to be able to control their own budgets including council tax and not have them set centrally through the council tax freeze
- all political parties to accept the council tax is broken and get around the table to agree how to take forward reform of local government finance
For further information contact:
Mark Ferguson, chair of UNISON’s Local Government Committee, 0777 334 2570
Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns 07958 122409
Notes for Editors
- Infographics on job losses and council tax freeze:
- UNISON Scotland paper on paying for local government: https://unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/PayingforLocalGovernment_UNISONdiscussionpaper_Nov2013.pdf