Date Weds 14 January 2015 - For immediate use
People’s Assembly calls on councils to protect communities from cuts
As Scottish councils' budget plans lay out huge cuts to jobs and services, the People’s Assembly Scotland is calling on politicians to stand up for local services and the communities they serve.
Tomorrow ( 15 January 2015) Edinburgh Council will rubber stamp plans to cut 1,200 jobs in the capital. Fife Council plans could see 2,000 jobs go, Glasgow has announced at least £29 million in cuts on top of the £200 million already cut along with 4,000 jobs and Dundee will need to find £30 million in cuts by 2018 to maintain the council tax freeze.
Phil McGarry, chair of the People’s Assembly Scotland, said: “Across Scotland we see councils reorganising, cutting jobs and front line services and hiking charges but nowhere do we see councillors saying they will resist cuts to the services they were elected to protect.”
“40,000 jobs have been lost in Scottish local government in recent years. If that had been any other employer, politicians would have been queuing up to demand action and a rescue plan. The least that councillors can do is stand up for services and not pretend they can go on cutting and cutting.
“The irony is that the austerity that cuts jobs, cuts the money available in local communities and cuts the tax that is available, leads to a vicious circle of even more austerity. Apart from the human cost with food banks being the only growing industry, local economies are being pushed further into stagnation.”
In the coming weeks, the People’s Assembly Scotland will put questions to politicians on how they will use devolved powers to create social justice in Scotland. It will publish their answers and urge ordinary Scots to get together in local and national debates about challenging austerity.
For an analysis of the Fife budget cuts see the People’s Assembly Fife response athttp://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/scotland_blog_peoples_assembly_fife
For Edinburgh see UNISON’s response at http://www.unison-edinburgh.org.uk/news/2015/0901.html