Thanks for your e-mail on behalf of the Joint Trade Unions regarding the Council budget. I and the Labour Group, share your concerns about the massive attack on local public services being perpetrated by the Tories at Westminster and the SNP in Holyrood.
Whilst the Labour Administration will fulfil our duty to manage the council’s finances prudently and responsibly and will meet the legal requirement to set a balanced budget this year, I will be making it clear that we will be arguing vigorously for additional funding and taking whatever action is open to us in defence of our valuable local services.
We believe that a full and open debate is needed across Scotland about what level and standard of local public services we want and how these should be paid for.
We are committed to continuing with direct in house provision of services and to protecting our lowest paid employees. We will continue with our commitment to the living wage. We will seek to make any reductions in employee numbers through natural turnover, early retirement, redeployment and voluntary redundancy. We will do our utmost to give our staff long term security of employment.
We will not be including the indicative savings target of £2m for changes to employment practices in our budget tomorrow.
However we do want to continue the dialogue with staff and trade unions on reshaping our services to better meet the needs of service users and will be discussing this further with you in due course.
We also want to engage more closely with staff and trade unions in bringing forward your ideas for efficiencies and improvements in our current services.
I hope we will be able to mount a strong joint campaign in defence of local public services both locally and at national level. As you know I have been advocating this joint campaign through Cosla in dialogue with the public service trade unions national.
I look forward to meeting with you and your colleagues again soon to see how we can take this forward.
Cllr David Ross