Catastrophic cuts are facing vital services. But you can stand up for your community and demand emergency funding to #SaveOurServices.

Act now, send an email

Local councils have a huge funding gap – estimated at £10 billion in England, £1 billion in Scotland and £279 million in Wales. England’s funding gap is equivalent to 141,000 adult care workers, 46,000 refuse collectors and 51,000 children’s social workers.

In the fight against COVID-19, billions had to be spent to protect the most vulnerable, while crucial income was lost as the country went into lockdown. After 10 years of cuts, local services were already stretched, particularly in deprived areas where harsher cuts were targeted.

Watch our video to find out what this could mean for your community:

As we face a major recession and the ongoing threat of coronavirus, demands on services are going to rise. Local services must be resilient and properly funded. Yet even our most basic services are facing drastic cuts.

What can we do?

We are calling on the government to urgently #PlugTheGap.

We have created a tool that can send your MP an email – but also your MSP and Senedd member if you live in Scotland or Wales. They can stand up for your community and pressure the government to fund vital services. And it just takes one minute!

Use our campaign tool to stand up for local services

Use the campaign graphics on your social media accounts to bring visibility to the issue, and make people aware of the impossible choices facing their community:

Download the graphics here

We have a campaign guide, with more ideas about how to kick off a local campaign and detailed background on local government funding:

Download the campaign guide 

Latest

Government must urgently tackle funding problems for struggling councils, says UNISON

Council workers should not pay the price for budget problems

Ministers must fix council funding to avoid ​”catastrophic cuts”

At least £10bn needed to save essential services

The government needs to ‘sling their hook’

Local government delegates agree it’s essential to get rid of the Conservative government in order to save our services

Love your library? Tell us about it

UNISON survey of library workers will look at the effects of austerity cuts on the service

Save Our Services blog: The trading standards officer’s tale

For SOS Day on 6 December, we asked our members working in safety related roles to tell us about the reality of working to keep their communities safe under years of austerity.

The issue

Councils have been doing sterling work in very challenging circumstances, throughout the pandemic. But unless more funding is forthcoming, even the most vital services will have to be cut. They will have to make impossible choices. Should communities be left with less money for adult social care or children’s social care? Fund refuse services or licensing services? Public health functions or support for local businesses?

The coronavirus pandemic has created a stark shortfall in funding for local services, this financial year. A huge increase in expenditure was required to fight coronavirus. For example councils had to increase spending to ensure food deliveries reached the most vulnerable residents, provide support for social care providers, get rough sleepers off the street, and administer track and trace efforts. It has cost billions.

At the same time, crucial revenue from business rates dried up during lockdown. The Chancellor announced a business rate holiday in March and it is this income which has increasingly made up more of the funding for councils in recent years. Parking fees, planning fees and income from things like leisure services, have also been significantly disrupted.

This has compounded an already difficult situation – local services have little resilience, after ten years of cuts. The National Audit Office estimated central government funding for councils fell by 49% in real terms between 2010/11 and 2017/18 in England. Local Government Association analysis published in March 2020 found that councils have lost £15 billion of core government funding over the past decade. Plus, councils in more deprived parts of England were hit much worse by cuts.

£3.7bn was provided by the government but does not meet the shortfall that councils are facing this year and it does not recognise the huge cuts they’ve already endured in the last decade. Local services need to be resilient and properly funded, if new waves of the virus are to be contained.

That’s why the Save Our Services is fighting for the funding councils and communities so desperately need.