After five years of relentless austerity, local authorities across the UK have been put in an impossible position, forced to make unfair cuts to libraries, buses, social care, leisure centres – the list goes on.
The funding that councils get from Westminster – either directly or through a devolved government – to spend on local services continues to fall. At the same time, rising demand for support from vulnerable groups like older people, the homeless and children puts even more pressure on council finances.
And this is hard for local government workers to deal with. My job as an officer for council staff in UNISON has brought me face to face with council workers who’ve told me about the stress of trying to look after the communities they serve as budgets are cut time after time.
The local services that we all benefit from will need our help if they are going to survive the next five years of cuts under a Tory government. It is vital that we, as UNISON activists and campaigners, speak up for our members who risk losing their jobs and service users who could be left stranded by further cuts.
This year, the save our services (SOS) campaign will help branches, activists and members, working with their communities, to raise awareness of the impact of cuts locally and campaign to save local services. We will also continue to expose the devastation the cuts have caused in services and communities in our Damage reports.
This blog is the new home of SOS campaign news. Keep checking back for the latest information and advice on local campaigning and news on the impact of cuts on local government across the UK.
Most importantly, we want to hear from you! Tell us about a local service that has been cut in your community and how it has affected you in ‘Tell us your story’. If you’ve been part of a successful campaign against cuts to council services, tell us about it in our survey.
Join our fight to save local services in 2016!
Natalie Ntim, assistant national officer, local government, police and justice section, UNISON