Levelling up won’t mean anything without decent public services

Much-needed reforms missing from parliamentary agenda

Commenting on the Queen’s Speech today (Tuesday) UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

Levelling up
“Hope and prosperity won’t come to forgotten communities without proper investment in public services. Years of scant resources have made it much harder for local councils to provide support to vulnerable families.

“The government must mend the damage from a decade of cuts. Otherwise, its levelling-up agenda will mean nothing to those in need. That means scrapping the pay freeze too.”

“Limiting the impact of privatisation will improve treatment for NHS patients and reduce stress for hard-pressed health employees.

“But urgent action to tackle growing staff shortages is long overdue and vital to tackling the enormous treatment backlog.

“That must start with ministers dropping their insulting 1% pay proposal. The government needs to find the resources to reward workers properly after a nightmare year and prevent experienced staff from walking.”

Employment rights
“Ministers have said much about how life and work would be better after Brexit. But promises without action won’t improve standards at work.

“There was no comfort today for anyone on zero-hours contracts or who needs protection from unscrupulous employers and the increasing use of heartless fire and rehire tactics.”

“Tackling the skills deficit demands a well-funded further education system. Colleges make a huge difference to the lives of many from disadvantaged backgrounds but have been neglected for years.”

Tackling the real problems
“Restricting the right to protest, changing the timing of general elections and making it harder for people to vote is all about tackling problems that don’t exist.

“As it emerges from the pandemic, the UK deserves better. The absence of an employment bill, a damaging pay freeze, social care inaction and zero long-term investment in public services shows the real priorities are being side stepped.”

Social care
“The government cannot continue with empty words. ​Ministers must stop putting off the inevitable. It’s time for action, and a radical plan to fix th​e broken ​care sector.

“Covid has exposed ​the desperate and fragile state ​of social care. Those who rely on care and their families are being ​constantly let down, and ​poorly paid staff feel undervalued and ignored.

“Social care failings have a knock-on effect on the NHS too. ​A world-class system ​is needed, and a government with the ambition and drive to deliver.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:  
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk