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Date: Tue 27 November 2012

Scottish government must choose a better way than council funding cuts - UNISON

The poorest and most vulnerable in Scotland who depend on vital council services are bearing the brunt of austerity – and it is up to the Scottish government to choose a better way. That is UNISON’s response to John Swinney's local government budget allocation announced in the Parliament today (Tuesday 27 Nov).

Scotland's main public services union believes the Scottish government must act to end the Council Tax freeze so local government can continue to provide vital services rather than impose cuts or charges.

Stephanie Herd, chair of UNISON's Scottish Local Government Committee said:

"Today's local government budget allocations announcement confirms once more that Scottish councils are bearing the brunt of the austerity measures imposed by the Tory-led coalition in Westminster – and passed on by this Scottish administration.

"It is not enough to say a big boy in Westminster did it and ran away. To govern is to choose – and John Swinney has chosen to freeze Council Tax for years at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable.

"These allocations are often discussed in terms of council winners or losers. But the reality is all of our communities are losing out, across Scotland.

"We need an end to the Council Tax freeze and action to make the tax fairer. We need to enable councils to continue providing vital services rather than impose damaging cuts or punitive charges. And our members, who provide these vital services despite being forced to accept a pay freeze for the last two years, need a pay settlement which will redress some of that burden.”


Notes for editors

1. UNISON is Scotland's largest trade union representing over 160,000 members working in the public sector in Scotland, the majority of whom work in local government.

2. The UNISON Scotland Manifesto for the Scottish Local Government election of May 2012 is available on our website. It includes our proposal for an end to the Council Tax freeze and reform of the Council Tax to create a fairer property tax.

For further information please contact:
Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, UNISON Scotland, on 07958 122 409
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland, 0141 342 2877 or 078765 66978