Scottish Budget – council services hit hardest – UNISON calls for funding review

Date: Wed 6 February 2013

Public services union UNISON today warned that vital council services are being hit hardest by budget cuts and called for a review of local government funding.

UNISON Scotland warned that already councils have lost 34,500 jobs since 2008/9, with severe impacts on services right across the country. And they are taking the brunt of budget cuts in the Scottish Government’s three year spending plans.

Stephanie Herd, chair of the union’s Local Government Committee, said: “Local services that people rely on daily are already under immense strain, with more spending cuts to come.

“Given the scale of the damage that is being done, the further cuts we face and the ongoing unfair council tax freeze, we need a much wider review of how to fund services.”

Stephanie added: “There are stealth cuts too, where staff are struggling with massive workloads and increased demand. We cannot continue like this if we want to retain proper quality services.

“Essential services provided by councils, including education, home care for elderly and disabled people, social work, environmental health, trading standards and many more are all affected by cuts and job losses.

“The austerity measures imposed by governments at Westminster and Holyrood are not needed. There is a better way and we will fight to retain good quality services. Paying off council and other public sector workers does not help local economies.”

UNISON is challenging councillors who are setting budgets this month, asking whether they will be the agents of cuts, or will they instead champion their local communities.

For information please contact:
Stephanie Herd, Chair of Local Government Committee, 07989 544162
Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, 07958 122 409
Stephen Smellie, Vice Convener, 07740 096 864
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer, 0141 342 2877 or 07508 877 000
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, 0141 342 2877 or 07876 566 978

Note to editors:
Already a total of 51,700 jobs have been lost in the public sector in Scotland since 2008/9. Analysis shows that 66.7% have been from local government, which makes up 57.3% of the workforce. Further details in our public sector workforce briefing: