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million voices for change - PUBLIC WORKS!

Our public services are at risk
Public Services Election 2015
Our vital public services are at risk from austerity economics. What will your community be like if we lose them?

Public Services Election 2015
Public Services -
If you value them,
fight for them

The damage to our public services
Damage series
A series of UNISON Scotland reports on how austerity is hitting public services and how we can protect them

A great way to get the message across simply and effectively. Click here for a range to use.....

Million Voices
Public Works is the campaign for jobs, services, fair taxation and a Living Wage by UNISON, Scotland's biggest public service union. More updates on our Public Works blog - see also the UNISON Scotland blog plus UNISON Scotland Press releases

Public Works

Public Works: Toolkit
Resources for branches
to campaign against public service cuts.
Get tooled up.


There is a better way
There is a Better Way STUC campaign site

False Economy logo
False Economy:

Why the cuts are wrong

Website supported by UNISON and TUC

Public Works: UNISON Scotland programme to beat recession
Spring 2009
(leaflet pdf)




Public services at risk!
UNISON Scotland is stepping up the campaign for our vital public services, following the outcome of the election in May 2015.

Parks and public space Healthy, safe food, drinks and shopping Our National Health Service Housing and homes Safe streets Public transport Your neighbourhood Libraries Social care Education services Waste collection and recycling Image Map Cartoons by Frank Boyle

Public Services Election - UNISON Scotland Manifesto 2015

UNISON Scotland Public Services Manifesto
May 2015

The future of our public services is at risk following the outcome of the general election on 7 May 2015.

All of us use services every day, they are so much part of our lives that we often take them for granted. And our public services are often invisible: people wonder what they get back for the taxes they pay.

Here’s a wee reminder of some of the services your taxes provide.

Remember - every day is tax free day in Somalia!

Don't let our vital public services and the workers who provide them be condemned to extinction. If you value them, fight for them.

Click here for pdf of the UNISON Scotland General Election Manifesto 2015



Parks and public space
Parks are brilliant things: from country parks to small corner swing parks, they provide people of all ages and abilities a free opportunity to get out doors. Parks provide a huge range of physical and mental health benefits and a range of education enhancing activities for people of all ages and abilities. Spending on parks is the epitome of preventative spending.

Children can run jump climb shout and scream as much as they want. There are trees, plants and wildlife to learn about. Play parks have a range of equipment to allow them challenging physical and mental tests. All free at the point of use.

A soft play area costs up to £6 for two hours, a child’s gym membership £25 per month. Parks are free at the point of use, no need to book and only really daylight hours restrict how long you can stay.

Parks are not just for children. They are great places for exercise for people of all ages and physical ability. You can move on your feet, two wheels or whatever mobility aid you require. You can watch, listen to or smell your surroundings. There is something for everyone.

Parks are a hugely cost effective contribution to physical and mental health.
Mental health experts agree that keeping active is key to good mental health. Exercise releases feel good chemicals in your brain, it also boosts self esteem, helps you sleep better and helps you concentrate. Taking a break getting out doors for ten minutes or a weekend away are also great boosts for mental health. Visiting a park is a great way to get a break even if its just eating your lunch on a park bench.

All free at the point of use while joining a gym can cost about £70 a month, the cost of treatment for a mental health issue is much higher:

Costs of therapy
In-patient fees
£455-£700 per week for a consultant and £579-£639 for the room
Day treatments
Consultant full day £382
Psychologist or psychotherapist £60 per session whilst in day care
Physiotherapist £62 per half day
ECT £504
Out patient fees
Psychiatrist assessment £240-440 with follow up sessions £150-300
Psychologist assessment £130-240 follow up £130-150

Scotland faces severe challenges from diabetes, heart disease and strokes. Keeping active and getting out and about are great ways to reduce the risks and consequences of these illnesses.


Our National Health Service
Our health service, free at the point of use, is very important to all of us. Few are lucky enough to have the services we have in the UK.

In Ireland a GP visit costs on average €50.

It’s hard sometimes to see what good value your taxes are but health costs soon add up if you have to pay over the counter:
Unblocking a blood vessel in the heart £4800
Ultra sound £320
Epidural average £1220
Hip replacement £10,400
Gall bladder removal £5140

The variation in costs between providers is becoming a big issue in the USA now as technology makes it easier for people to compare and contrast providers. Childbirth can range from $9,000 to $30,000. Can you imagine having to use a price comparison site to choose where to have your hip replaced? How would you know what you were paying for?


Street safety
Imagine making your way home in the dark? Life without street lights is pretty difficult. How do you read street signs and work out where you are and where to go? There is the concern regarding people hiding and attacking you but also just looking out for potholes and uneven pavements so you don’t trip and fall.

Local authorities provide a range of staff on top of the police to keep us safe and healthy when we are out and about, from taxi marshals and street wardens to parking attendants. While parking attendants are not always popular we all know that without them traffic would be jammed and pavements blocked by cars.

Your own personal 24 hour security guard service would costs between £20 and £40 per hour 24 hours a day every day of the year even at £20 per hour, that comes to over £170,000. They obviously don’t have powers of arrest. They also can’t be everywhere so if they follow you about you’ll need more guards for your house and or car.


Public Services Election May 2015 - libraries
What will your community be like if we lose our public services?
Public Services:
If you value them, fight for them

Waste collection and recycling
Refuse collection: picking up domestic waste and recycling protects us all from vermin and disease. Costs of cleaning up from those that don’t follow the rules are already high: in England £45 million was spent last year collecting dumped items. Imagine it was left to us all to organise our own bin collections. Councils in Ireland have already outsourced the collections part of the service. Charges vary but €300 gets you a fortnightly pick up of a refuse bin, a recycling bin and a food waste bin.

Local authorities don’t just pick up our refuse and recycling they also run recycling centres and deal with the waste. All these charges would increase if everything was left to the private sector.


Housing and homes
We are experiencing a serious housing shortage. This means high rents and house prices for the existing limited supply.

Each homeless person costs about £24-£30,000 to public services like social services and health. This includes both the costs of increased poor health for those who experiences homelessness and the range of support and advice services provided to help people through and out of this predicament.

The high costs of private letting mean that private landlords pocket approx £10 billion from housing benefit a year in the UK. Adding this to the costs of homelessness means that investment in new social housing is the obvious way to move forward, providing places for people to live and saving money.


Education services
Lollipop men and women provide an excellent service keeping children safe while crossing the road while allowing them to develop confidence and resilience by travelling to school without an adult.

The costs of private school education are now on average £10,341. This is subsidised by charitable status and the public sector paying for teacher training, exams and school inspection.

We already know that university costs up to £9,000 a year in England but even that pales in comparison to fully private education providers like those in the USA where the average at the big private universities is approx $31,000 with top universities like MIT, Harvard or Stanford charging $44,000.


Social care
The public sector in Scotland provides free personal care for people over 65. Paying for this type of service by yourself is very costly. Homecare costs £11,000 per year for 14 hours per week, a round the clock service £150,000. Residential care costs £28,000 per year and £37,000 if nursing care is also required.


Public Works cartoon Apr 2015
What will your community be like if we lose our public services?
Public Services:
If you value them, fight for them

Libraries are a source of huge amounts of information through the books and newspapers they contain, free access to the internet and local information like the electoral register, and contact details for councillors, MPs and MSPs. They also run lots of fun activities for children like book readings and puppet shows.

They are a place for quiet study, and library staff help you find your way through all the sources of information to find what you need.


Public transport
The bus service operator’s grant reduces bus fares. The over-60s bus pass also operates as a bus subsidy ensuring that buses are used regularly.

Payments to operators are calculated on the eligible kilometer run on local bus services, the total volume of fuel used and a pre-determined payment rate set by Transport Scotland.

On 1 April 2010 the link between fuel duty and BSOG was formally removed. Removing fuel used as a factor in calculating BSOG payments are based on distance travelled and calculated using eligible kilometres X payment rate.

From 1 April 2013, the payment rate for conventional fuels is 14.4 pence per kilometre and 17p/km for journeys by biodiesel.

Effective from 1 April 2012, a rate of 20p/km applies only to fuel comprised entirely of biodiesel.

BSOG currently contains incentives for low carbon vehicles with the payment rate doubled to 28.8p/km.

Since 1 April 2012 DRT/ flexible "dial-a-bus" services, available to the general public, and are registered with the Traffic Commissioner as local bus services, have qualified for the BSOG.


Healthy, safe, hygienic food and shopping
Environmental health and trading standards staff ensure shops, cafes, bars and restaurants provide food in a safe and hygienic manner. They also check to make sure that what you are sold is what it claims to be and check that the weight or volume you are paying for is what you are getting. Legislation protects you from farm to factory to shop - to ensure everything you eat or use is safe.

Local authorities also provide a range of advice services to ensure you can both know and access your rights when buying goods or services.


Your neighbourhood
Staff at the council deal with noisy or difficult neighbours. There is a whole team in local authorities dealing with disputes and difficult neighbours whether noise, anti-social behaviour or a breakdown in relationships. They also support mediation services to help people move forward.



Public Works cartoon Apr 2015
Public Services: If you value them, fight for them


Public Services Election - UNISON Scotland Manifesto 2015
Click here for pdf of the UNISON Scotland Public Services Manifesto May 2015


What is at risk?

Parks and public space

Our National Health Service

Safe streets

Waste collection and recycling

Housing and homes

Education services

Social care


Public transport

Healthy, safe food and shopping

Your neighbourhood




Published by UNISONScotland,
UNISON House, 14 West Campbell Street,
Glasgow G2 6RX Tel 0845 355 0845