Austerity cuts put local democracy at risk

UNISON Cymru/Wales warns that austerity cuts are damaging our public services and threatening to undermine local democracy

In a speech at the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) seminar today (Wednesday), UNISON Cymru/Wales Head of Local Government Dominic MacAskill highlighted recent Office of National Statistics data which show that around 7,000 jobs have been lost in the public sector in Wales in the last 12 months alone.

He said: “The loss of so many thousands of public sector jobs, most of these from hard pressed councils, has devastating consequences for the quality of our public services and raises real questions about the future of local authority services.

“If this magnitude of cuts continues, then our public services will be unrecognisable. This means more services could be cut or privatised and the most vulnerable in our communities left more and more to fend for themselves. This goes to the heart of why the vicious Conservative cuts agenda must be resisted.”

The seminar of local authority chief executives, council leaders, other front line managers and unions will consider the changes facing local authorities in Wales. They will examine issues such as the dangers of merging councils into larger authorities and the potential impact on democratic accountability.