New council cuts will hit more vital services, says UNISON

UNISON, the UK’s largest union, is warning that the Government’s 1.7% cut to local authority spending power will have a devastating impact on council services and workers. The details announced by Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles of how much each council will be allocated out of government central funding, simply means more cuts, more redundancies and fewer local services for those who need them most.

Heather Wakefield, UNISON’s Head of Local Government, said:

“Local councils are already under the Government’s financial cosh and today’s cuts will push many more vital services over the edge. By 2013/14 the Spending Review will have cut grants to Councils by £4.3bn while handing companies £3.75bn in cuts to Corporation Tax, where is the fairness in that?

“Eric Pickles needs to get into the real world. Around the country Libraries, Day Centres, and Youth Clubs are closing, care is being rationed as eligibility criteria become ever tighter, and young people find careers advice has all but disappeared.

“The evidence of the damage on vital local services is now all around us and plain to see. The wrong choices are being made and the gap between Ministerial rhetoric and the reality of what is happening to public services simply gets wider. Ministers are out of touch with the lives of ordinary people and the day to day experience of those who rely on and deliver our public services.

“Using council reserves to pay for everyday services is bad financial management because once they are gone, that it is it – councils will have no financial safety net in case of emergency.”

The Spending Review in 2010 meant that for every £100 councils received in formula grant in 2010/11 they would get just £73.60 in 2013/14 and further cuts have been announced since then -that is before inflation is taken into account.

Notes for Editors

The Leader of the Local Government Association Sir Merrick Cockell says the cuts ‘are unsustainable’. The Leader of Kent County Council says ‘the tank is running on empty’ and Finance Directors call the cuts ‘appalling’.