Today the council’s Finance and Resources committee will again try to kick off its budget consultation.
This will be a consultation that no one will have the opportunity to say ‘No to Cuts’
Edinburgh Council has seen a reduction of £240 million to its budget over the last five years and another £140 is coming over the next five years.
Our city, its people, and the staff who provide the services are paying a very heavy price for an Austerity driven ideology.
The poorest and most disadvantaged sectors of our city, who are struggling to make ends meet, queuing at foodbanks, the homeless, the frail and disabled, our young people who have nowhere to go, or who are in need of care and support will suffer further.
As the council send out its further cut proposals for consultation only the loudest voices and interest groups will be heard. UNISON will speak up for our members terms and conditions and fight against the silent slaughter of local government.
The elected members need to be getting out there, speaking with and seeing the struggles that the most vulnerable and deprived have to endure.
UNISON applauds the Conservative and Lib/Dem councillors who supported and fought for the maintaining of the music school – UNISON City of Edinburgh would like to see all communities in our City having access to music schools.
We have grave concerns that the same councillors will have a lot less interest in the potential cuts in other service areas, including early years and health and social care.
Of even greater concern was the conservative leader’s comments at the last Finance and Resources committee held the 27 November 2017 where he was implying how stretched the top 10% already are.
Perhaps he could have a word with his other colleagues in the conservative party, not those just in the top 10%, but those in the top 1%, such as the likes of Lord Ashcroft and ask them if they would start paying their income tax instead of hiding their massive fortunes in tax havens.
These are the same people who tell us that they are over taxed, while at the same time they tell us that their Austerity agenda is needed to get the public finances into shape.
He may also want to put pressure on the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer and encourage them to move away from Austerity and invest in the countries infrastructure and public services.
The SNP group need to put pressure on the Scottish Government, and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Constitution, to move away from their historical position of applying huge cuts to local government.
UNSON city of Edinburgh demands that the progressive parties on the council are seen to be standing up for and fighting to protect jobs and services, not being mere administrators of austerity.
UNISON demands that the council as an employer, takes its statutory duty of care to its employees more seriously, your staff are demoralised, and being asked to take on more and more with less and less.
If shaped by austerity Transformation programmes do not work, they cannot work. Transformation in this context is no more than cost cutting, reducing services, and have a negative impact on the terms and conditions of the staff who provide them.
Unless there is a move away from Austerity the consultation is meaningless – it does not allow you to ‘Say No-Cuts’.