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Thu 9 February 2012

Council budget cuts: UNISON calls for review of funding to protect vital services and jobs 

UNISON Scotland has called for a review of local government  funding to prevent further loss of vital local services and job following news of local council budgets approved across Scotland today.

Mike Kirby, UNISON’s Scottish Secretary said:
“These are tough times for local government, and for those employed to provide vital services in local communities.

“In the space of a year, the number of people working to deliver council services has declined by over thirteen thousand. Today’s budgets will mean thousands more jobs will go.

“Everyday all of us use the services provided by local government.  Many people don’t even notice them, we take them for granted, but they matter most when they’re not there.”

“Workers are also facing a pay freeze at a time of rising costs. We welcome commitments to living wage, but this must apply also to those working for agencies providing services. Councils can ensure contract compliance with living wage.”

“Public services offer great value for money. But they must be paid for. Continuing the council tax freeze is not right, not fair, in that it’s a real terms cut for the wealthiest home owners.

"It’s damaging to local democracy, to jobs and to services. Simply removing the freeze is not the answer. We call for a wider revue of funding services.”

“We hope elections in May will bring a much-needed focus on the importance of local government and the range of essential services it provides. UNISON welcomes the fact that elections to local government are no longer overshadowed by the Scottish Parliament election."

For further information contact:
Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary - 07939 143 355
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer - 0141 342 2877

Note to editors
1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing over 160,000 members working in the public sector in Scotland, including staff in local government areas.

2. The UNISON Scotland Manifesto for the Scottish Local Government election is available on our website www.unison-scotland.org.uk