05 December 2014
UNISON response to Edinburgh cuts - government
must put cash in
As Edinburgh fights to find £67 million in
cuts on top of almost £200 million in recent
years, UNISON’s Edinburgh Branch is calling
on the Scottish Government to put cash in now ‘before
local services disappear for ever’.
“All the salami slicing has now been done.
Reorganisations, back office cuts that create more
work and are false economies, and a wage freeze
have delivered as much as they can and we are going
to see frontline services disappearing never to
return”, warned John Stevenson, UNISON Edinburgh
“Councils like Edinburgh cannot wait for
a review of funding a year down the road. The Scottish
Government must step in now before local government
UNISON has yet to consult on the detail of the
budget cuts but it is warning that lessons from
the past need to be learned. It understands that
a neighbourhood system is envisaged with cuts at
middle management level. This is deeply worrying
in several services which are only able to carry
on functioning because managers are covering for
staff shortages and to manage huge workloads. The
dangers of undermanaged services for staff and for
service users have been writ large in Edinburgh
before and in other authorities.
Aberdeen had a neighbourhood system that was roundly
condemned in a child protection inspection. Edinburgh
had a neighbourhood system a few years ago that
cost £9 million and lost direct lines of accountability
for social work which was also criticised in an
inspection. Any new system must learn from these
UNISON will also be demanding that the council
sticks to its no compulsory redundancy pledge.
“One of the biggest pressures faced by councils
amidst the cuts is the growing need for social care
and children’s services. These are all provided
directly by people, many of whom are paid a pittance.
Cut the people and you cut the services”,
added UNISON’s Tom Connolly who is secretary
for the staff side of all the council unions.
“Labour and the SNP have shown in Edinburgh
that they can work together and we are calling on
them to stand up for the services they were elected