Tracy Dalling UNISON Scottish secretary is urging Scots to get out and vote for their local council services: “People need to vote in these elections – and vote for people serious about maintaining services and maintaining local accountability. Councils as a tier of democracy are under attack as never before. We desperately need councillors who to stand up , not just for their own ward , but for the councils they serve in and dedicated to stopping the hollowing out of Local Government. If we don’t see that we will see the end of councils as a tier of democracy. These elections really are a use it or lose scenario.
The combination of underfunding and control over budgets exercised from Holyrood – is hollowing out councils’ capacity. We need councillors in town halls to act as champions of their areas rather than managers of decline or operators of a transmission belt from Holyrood. We see the impact of this every day as our members struggle to deliver services in ever more difficult circumstances.
Tracey spoke to The Herald today: “It’s been my fear for the last 10 years and will continue to be my fear for the coming 10 years, over what is the nature of locally delivered and locally accountable services in our communities.
“I’ve used this expression over the years – bins and bodies.
“We will have refuse collection and we will have burials and graveyards [run by councils] and very little else. There is a huge centralised agenda from the Scottish Government and has been for some time”
“These are local services delivered to local people, by local employees and they are held to account by local elected councillors.’
“If we continue with this and we continue with the level of cuts to a whole range of services, and a mantra that somehow private can do things better or cheaper, what what is going to be left in terms of local service delivery?”