Fighting Cuts and Privatisation – Highlighting ‘The Damage’ to our Communities and the Economy

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2013 Local Government Service Group Conference
19 February 2013
Carried as Amended

Conference deplores the scale of the austerity cuts and the damage they are wreaking on local services and our members who work in them. Despite the high profile failures of privatised services, councils continue to outsource services to private sector organisations – either through ideology or because they believe the bogus claims that the private sector can save money.

Conference notes that:

1)Local government is already facing a reduction of 28 per cent in Formula Grant by 2014/15 as Spending Review 2010 cuts Formula Grant by £3bn; £1.6bn; £0.2bn and £1.3bn in the years 2011/12 to 2014/15 and that as a result for every £100 in Formula Grant that was paid to councils in 2010/11 just £73.60 will be paid in 2013/14

2)UNISON’s analysis suggests that the additional cut due to the 2013/14 Local Government Finance Settlement averages over 8.4% – reducing that £100 in 2010/11 to £68.60 in 2013/14. That figure is before inflation which has eroded ‘purchasing power’ by a further 12 per cent since 2010

3)Average public sector pay increases of 1% announced in the Autumn Statement 2011 removed £240m in 2013/14 and another £497m in 2014/15. In the Autumn Statement 2012 the Government announced a further cut of £445m in resources for Local Government in 2014/15

4)This Statement by the Prime Minister “Of course councils face difficult spending decisions, but in many cases the level of spending and grant they are still getting is equivalent to what they received under the last Government” David Cameron (6 February 2013) shows the Prime Minister is completely out of touch with the financial reality facing local authorities

5)The scale of the failure of the Government’s economic policies now means that in the Autumn Statement 2012, the Office for Budget Responsibility projected that for 2014/15 the Government will collect £23.2bn less in Income Tax; £18.2bn less in Corporation Tax and £9.8bn less in National Insurance than projected for that year in the Emergency Budget (June 2010) and that Public Sector Net Debt in 2014/15 is forecast by the OBR to be £126bn higher than projected.

Conference calls for a co-ordinated campaign across local government to defend council jobs and services and asks the SGE to:

a)Continue to develop ‘The Damage’ campaign which has highlighted our members’ views about the long-term costs of cutting their jobs, pay and conditions and restricting the effectiveness of their services

b)Ensure comprehensive support from the Service Group, Regions and external experts for branches fighting large-scale privatisation and cuts, including lawful industrial action in accordance with UNISON rules

c)Develop a recruitment and organising strategy which builds union density across council services and which ensures good organisation in services already privatised

d)Work with other trade unions, the TUC, think tanks and community groups to publicise the arguments about how cutting jobs and services damages local economies

e)Work with other trade unions, the TUC, think tanks and community groups to highlight the evidence of how privatised services are failing staff, service users and draining resources away from service delivery

f)Ensure that training is provided to branches in order for them to understand lawful industrial action