Blog: If there are elections where you are, don’t forget to use your vote

“Children’s centres encompassed the whole community and it didn’t matter what social background you were from, you were made to feel welcome. And now we’ve lost that. It’s heartbreaking. And that sounds exaggerated ‘heartbreaking’ – but this wasn’t just a service, we were like a family. The children’s centre was closed because of cuts enforced by this government.”

These are the words of Lisa, a former children’s centre worker and one of the UNISON members featured in our “Moments of Truth” campaign. Lisa is one of millions of public service workers whose lives – and the services they provide – have been turned upside down after years of cuts and crackdowns on public services.

Austerity economics is driven by the Conservative government in Westminster, but it has had an impact on every city, town and village in the UK. Across all of our communities services have been cut back, public servants are forced to do more with less and all too often, vital resources have been lost.

UNISON members know this from their own experiences how this has affected each and every one of them personally, both through the work they do and impact on the services they rely on.

That’s why it’s so important, if there are local elections in your area tomorrow, that you use your vote and stand up for public services – and back the candidates who you think will do the best job at funding, supporting and protecting those services. I know who I’m voting for, but however you vote, make sure you make sure your voice – the voice of those who care about public services – is heard loud and clear.

Recent years have shown clearly that our votes do matter, but in local elections – where turnout is traditionally lower than in general elections or referendums – that’s especially true. If those of us who believe in better – and better funded – public services stay at home, then those with different values will be the ones who have their say over who represents and speaks for you.

But don’t take just my word for this – think about something else that Lisa said:

“I want people to stand up and be counted. I’m not somebody on the news, I’m not somebody famous. I’m somebody who lives on a council estate in the Wirral, a single Mum with two children, who wants a better future for them. And I think if we all stick together we can make a change.”

If we stick together we can make a change. We have to stand up and be counted. We have to make our voices heard. If there are elections where you are, don’t forget to use your vote tomorrow.