UNISON letter Scottish Finance Secretary to discuss the funding crises in local government

thumbnail of Letter to KForbes 291020UNISON Scotland has today written to Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes calling for an urgent meeting to discuss the funding crises in local government. UNISON are calling on the Scottish government to plug the funding gap in local government to protect jobs and essential services.

Local government has suffered more than a decade of cuts and are now under severe financial strain as a result of the pandemic, with increased demand for services and a substantial loss of income.

Whilst we welcome the recognition that the Scottish Government need to do something to address
the financial crises local government is in we remain concerned that this ‘package’ does not solve
the problem.

The headline that this package was ‘worth up to £750m’ was misleading. Our understanding is that
only £139m of this was ‘new’ money (£49m of which had already been announced). The remainder
of the package would only be available if local authorities made full use of the ‘fiscal flexibilities’
being opened up to them.

UNISON are calling on the Scottish Government to #PlugTheGap in Local Government finance in the 2021/22 budget to:

• Reward Local Government Workers – Local Government workers have been the hidden heroes of this pandemic. Their invaluable contribution to the Covid response should be recognised and rewarded.
• Secure the long term financial stability of Local Government – Local Government needs long term stability to protect essential jobs and services for the future. The salami slicing of services needs to stop.
• Shape Local Government Fit for the Post-Pandemic Future – It is a matter of fact that a number of roles undertaken by local government workers have changed as a result of the pandemic. These need to be recognised and their job evaluation reviewed as a result.
• Fully Consolidate the Living Wage – Deliver on the existing commitment to fully consolidating the living wage for all local government workers across Scotland as committed to through our last pay deal.