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Date: 28 January 2006

UNISON members call on councils not to make damaging cuts in social care

Members of Scotland's largest union in the Community and Voluntary Sector will use their annual meeting today (Saturday 27 January) to call on Scotland's Local Authorities to avoid making across the board cuts in social care budgets.

Regional Organiser, Matt McLaughlin said, "UNISON members appreciate that local councils are under financial pressure and that they are having to set next years budgets in the next few weeks. However, our members are becoming increasingly concerned that, rather than review individual support packages, councils are simply going to impose across the board cuts in funding. If this is the approach that they take, service users will get a poorer service and may be placed at risk. Staff who are already amongst the poorest paid and hardest worked in Scotland will be further demoralised and sickness and vacancy levels will increase further."

Matt added, "Our members are angry that once again the quality of service that they deliver, training budgets, money for investment in services, their terms and conditions and their wages are being cut back so that councils can make efficiency targets."

There are approximately 120,000 Social Care Workers in Scotland. Many work for as little as £6.00 per hour and work on average 48 hours per week. They provide care and support for people living in their own homes who have a range of complex and challenging disabilities. Commenting on the action that local councils should be taking.

Matt said, "Local councils should be looking to review service provision on a case by case basis. If through this process they determine in partnership with the service user and service provider that efficiencies can be achieved then all parties should work to ensure that this happens. By adopting this approach they will ensure that quality does not suffer."


For Further Information Please Contact: Matt McLaughlin (Regional Organiser) 07904 341 979(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)