Public services are the foundation of a fair and civilised society. It is essential that we protect them so they can meet the needs of the future.
But across the UK they are under attack. Services that hold communities together and protect the most vulnerable in our society are being cut and privatised by the Tory-led coalition.
Cuts hurt everyone
Ministers say that these cuts are necessary to balance the books after the banking crisis plunged us all into a global recession. They want us to believe that “we are all in this together” and that everyone will need to tighten their belts to help them deal with the crisis.
They will tell you that private companies are better at providing public services than trained and dedicated public service workers.
But what they say just doesn’t add up.
We will fight to preserve the welfare state, for better care for the elderly, for disabled people, our libraries, parks and open spaces, decent schools, and so much more.
Dave Prentis, UNISON general secretary
Their cuts are hitting the poorest and most vulnerable in our society the hardest. How can it be right that the bankers – who caused this crisis in the first place – are still getting their bonuses, while communities across the UK are suffering from the cuts?
- Economic output is less than five years ago – and in February 2013, the governor of the Bank of England predicted that “Growth is likely to be weak in the near term”
- The 2012 Autumn Statement predicted that borrowing will be £64bn higher in 2014/15 than the Chancellor predicted two years ago
- The Institute for Fiscal Studies says a further 300,000 public-sector jobs – on top of those already planned – will “need” to be cut by 2017/18, meaning a total 1.2 million jobs lost
- The UK economy has lost its AAA rating – despite retaining it being a core Conservative Party manifesto pledge
UNISON’s alternative budget, 2013
Staff in local government, health, the police service, voluntary organisations, schools and colleges and libraries are being axed. Young people are losing their access to quality careers advice and guidance and are being priced out of education.
Private companies are circling our NHS, our education system, police, probation and our local services and taking over schools and hospitals to run them for profit not for pupils and patients.
There is a better way
We believe there is a better way to balance the books, a fairer way to help us out of recession.
We want to see investment in jobs and services to help our economy. Throwing thousands of people out of work will not help and there is no sign that the private sector will step in and create the thousands of new jobs that we need.
A graphGovernment income and spending 2002-2010
The country can afford the services that UNISON members provide – services that save, protect and enrich lives – if we stop wasting money on costly privatisations and pointless reorganisations and make the banks, big corporations and the super rich pay a fairer share in tax.
UNISON is campaigning against the government’s austerity agenda and their policy of cutting public services and public service jobs. Our 1.3 million members are speaking up for public services because they care about the services they deliver and the services that they use.
UNISON members drive our ambulances, teach our children, clean our streets, care for our elderly and tackle crime in our neighbourhoods. If you cut them, you hurt everyone.
How does this affect me?
This campaign affects members in the workplace and as users of public services. We are campaigning to save jobs, stop privatisation and stop service cuts so this campaign affects:
your pay – public service workers are subject to an unfair pay freeze;
your job – jobs are being cut because the government believes that this is the way to save money and pay off the deficit, but it’s not;
Your working life – your job may be hived off to the private sector as the government embarks on a wholesale sell off of vital public services to the highest bidder, who will then need to use these services as a profit making enterprise, leading to cuts in pay and terms and conditions;
your public services – which are being decimated by politicians who are using the deficit as an excuse to cut public services because they don’t believe in them.
The austerity was supposed to work by inspiring confidence; where’s the confidence?… Needless to say, Cameron and Osborne insist that they will not change course, which means that Britain will continue on a death spiral of self-defeating austerity
Paul Krugman, Nobel prize winner for economics, New York Times, Cameron’s remarkable achievement