Tackling austerity through a foundational economy

Kate Ramsden
Kate Ramsden

#stuc19 UNISON’s Kate Ramsden highlighted the launch of the Jimmy Reid Foundation report on Local Government funding, as Congress backed a wide-ranging campaign for an end to austerity and for innovations to support local communities based on a foundational economy.

Supporting a composite motion from the STUC General Council and USDAW, Kate told delegates that back in 2010 when austerity first hit, UNISON Scotland ran a campaign called, “Spread the Word”

This had a series of key messages showing that cuts to public services would be bad, not just for our members and the services they provide, but also for the economy – both local and national.

Kate said, “We warned that public service workers are critical to local economies – that for every £ earned around 70p went back into local shops and businesses.

“So if public service workers’ jobs and wages were cut then the amount available to spend in shops and businesses also reduced.

“We warned that there was no public/private divide – that for every job cut in public services, at least one would go in the private sector

“And we warned that the poorest families would be hit far worse by austerity than the rich. We were not “all in this together.”

“And guess what? We were right but no one listened,” slammed Kate.

She spoke of the knock-on impact to local shops and businesses of public service cuts and condemned the outsourcing of public services and the growth in low wage and insecure work in the industries most important to local communities and the people who live in them.

Kate commended the UNISON commissioned report, which is in line with the foundational economy and outlines a comprehensive strategy to underpin a genuine revitalisation of our local economies.

Kate said, “The proposals in our report fit with the asks in this motion but put a bit of meat on its bones in offering practical actions, with trade unions at the forefront to support inclusive growth and the foundational economy.

“It calls for greater local control for local communities and the people who live there. People who depend equally on public services, local infrastructure and local shops and businesses.”

“To tackle the impact of years of austerity, more of the same won’t do.”

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