A message from Cllrs Bryan Poole and Willie Clarke.
As we all know, you more than most, Councils are and have been severely underfunded for several years. Not only has this resulted in a reduction of service provision in Councils it has also resulted in a reduction of jobs and, for many of the staff remaining as Local Government Employees, additional pressures and quite often unrealistic expectations.
Of course change occurs and will continue to occur in Councils – change itself being a constant – but change being driven almost exclusively by financial pressures is unlikely to result in improvements to public services. Likewise and needless to say change driven almost exclusively by financial pressures is unlikely to bring about improvements in the workplace for staff – your members.
It seems to us that the mainstream Political Parties are content to argue about how best to manage the situation as opposed to challenging the status quo with the result that we’ve reached a stage where the argument is about ‘my cuts are less damaging than yours!!’ rather than avoiding further cuts.
Both Willie and myself continually hear from people in our local communities that they would rather pay slightly more in Council Tax than to lose services. We also receive similar feedback from Council Staff and during the recent referendum it was claimed that Scotland was different to other parts of the UK in that it was more egalitarian and committed to the notion of publicly funded services (as opposed to privatisation or providing key services for private profit).
We believe it is time to test that out and to that end we have arranged 4 public meetings in different locations in Fife where we intend a) to put the case for ‘Another Way’ and b) be guided by the response we receive with regard to an alternative proposition at the Fife Council Budget meeting on February 12th.
We are writing to you with a request that you circulate the details of the meetings to your members/membership and, if you see fit, to encourage them to attend/participate in the said meetings. I have attached the Press Statement and Poster which we have issued widely and we expect some good coverage locally but word of mouth and/or the direct links you have to your members likely to be equally effective. As you will see from our Press Statement we ‘are not being supported by the Senior Management Team’ at Fife Council in terms of organising this so any help from you re publicising the meetings would be very much appreciated.
If you have any queries/questions please get back to me (mobile no is on Press Statement).
Bryan Poole/Willie Clarke.