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8 March 2011

Save Edinburgh's Jobless Services Campaign takes the message to Holyrood: 'Save services that help jobless into work'

UPDATE: 10 March: Campaign Success!

Yesterday Alex Neil MSP announced that, in response to the pressure from the campaign and supporting MSPs, and the representations made by Cllr Tom Buchanan, the Scottish Government would would agree to the City of Edinburgh Council’s request for more than £700,000 of transitional funding for financial year 2011/12.

This is a great success! Although £700,000 is a lot less than the £2.23 million which has been cut, we understand that the sum is what the Council and CCP had requested once discussions started, following the response by John Swinney on budget day.

The request for the following financial year, 2012-13, was much greater, because the temporary sources of funding identified this coming year will not be in place. Clearly the current administration did not wish to make commitments that far ahead.

The consequence is that the problem is pushed back by a year so the campaign and its supporters will need to continue lobbying. For that a good foundation has been laid because in effect everyone involved has recognised the strength of our case. For those of you who were not present, the debate in Parliament yesterday can be read at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/apps2/business/

From this it is clear that each of the MSPs who spoke had listened to our briefings and they understand the importance of the services delivered with this funding. We will be writing thanking them.


Photocall: 12.15, Wednesday 9 March, outside Scottish Parliament Parliamentary
Briefing: 12.30 Q1.04

Campaigners will be at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday to press home the message that the Scottish Government's cuts of funding for employment programmes in Edinburgh will hurt people who most need help at this time of economic difficulties.

This takes place on the day that the motion on this topic from Sarah Boyack MSP will be debated at lunchtime in the Scottish Parliament - Wednesday 9 March.

At a briefing for MSPs before the debate, trainees from Four Square's Connected programme will launch the short video clip which they have made for the campaign. Representatives of other projects and of UNISON will also be there to speak about the impact of these cuts.

It is organised by the campaign to Save Edinburgh's Jobless Services which will hand over a 500 name petition to Scottish ministers that day.

"Our campaign is definitely having an impact" says Matthew Crighton of UNISON, speaking for the campaign.

"This is not the first time it has been noticed in Parliament - in the budget debate on 9 February John Swinney, Finance Minister, said that 'the Government will do what it can in the circumstances'.

"But so far these cuts are still in place. We are hoping that the wide range of support which we have had for our petition and from Edinburgh MSPs will help persuade the government to change its mind".

Messages from the public posted by signatories of the petition include:

"We need to be investing more in these services, not cutting them"

"Please help the jobless of Edinburgh by saving this funding. It is essential"

"Reducing this service will mean another blow to the young people of Edinburgh…"

"Save the jobs that save jobs!"

"Targeting unemployment programmes does not make sense in the current climate"

"As if the historic unemployment problem wasn't big enough on Muirhouse…"

"Having been involved in this field for over 20 years, I fail to see how cutting funds will help the already increasing unemployment figures"

"Why target the less privileged again?"

"The reality of Edinburgh as a modern city of social justice that supports all its communities is at stake due to these budget proposals"

"At this stage in the economic cycle it would be a travesty to undo the good work that services that help the jobless do"

"This is an investment in our future that should be maintained and promoted"

"Be fair to people and give people a chance and a foot up to success. Funding here prevents rehabilitation later. Be nice"

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