9 February 2012
Edinburgh Budget: Services and living wage best
way to help local economy
UNISON has called on today’s Edinburgh Council
meeting to protect services and pay a living wage
to help boost the local economy out of recession.
The union has also called on Holyrood and Westminster
to stop starving local authorities of funding and
take positive action to invest in services and jobs.
“We don’t doubt that the Council faces
difficult challenges from huge cuts in central government
funding in the next three years. But it is now time
to take a different approach and abandon costly
consultants and privatisations and get on with engaging
their own workers in protecting everyone’s
local services”, said John Stevenson, Edinburgh
“There is an alternative to the slash and
burn that is getting the whole economy deeper and
deeper into trouble”, said Mr Stevenson, calling
on national government to fund local councils properly
and “abandon the failed policies of austerity
which are creating more unemployment, more poverty
and fatally undermining the services we all rely
“The best way to deal with the deficit is
to create employment, not cut it. Rebuilding public
services benefits both the public sector and the
private sector. The more people there are in work,
the more there is in taxes to deal with the deficit
and the more there is to put back into the economy.
“One way to do that in Edinburgh would be
to pay a living wage of at least £7.20 an
hour and encourage other employers to do the same.
Unlike the very rich, low paid public service workers
spend most of what they earn in the local economy.That
money would go into Edinburgh businesses at a time
when they need it most.
“Overall, the best way to use the undoubted
wealth that exists in the UK is to put it to work
for everyone rather than being hoarded by the few.”