UNISON Fife members outside of Fife House this morning, standing up for our public services ahead of the Council setting it’s budget. Below is the speech delivered by the Branch Secretary to the demonstration.
Fife Council, like many other Councils across Scotland are
proposing budgets which will have massive consequences on our Communities, Our Services and Our members.
These cuts, if carried out, will cause longer lasting damage to the people of Fife for generations to come not just a term in office.
Across Scotland there will be thousands of job losses, staff pay and conditions will be attacked and fewer employees will be expected to do more.
The effect on local communities will fundamentally damage the fabric of society in Fife, quite possibly to the same levels as happened during Thatcher’s tyranny.
Whilst invariably these cuts will impact most on vulnerable in our communities, old and young alike, they go beyond the traditional stigmatised categories. Make no mistake, these cuts will impact on every single one of us across Fife.
Since 2010 millions of pounds have been removed from Fife Council’s budgets. This theft of tax payers’ money is set to continue for the foreseeable future!
It’s certainly true that the Tories have stolen more than £3 billion from public spending in Scotland since the austerity offensive began in the summer of 2010.
Austerity, we should remember, is an attempt by many politicians to make ordinary people pay for the economic crisis created by the greed of the Bankers and Super-Rich. The concept of Austerity is fake and is a word used to strip services out of public control and hand them over to money grabbing companies who have no stake, other than profit making, in creating and sustaining balanced communities.
Many of the proposals being considered today and going forward will include the increased use of private companies to deliver public services. These same companies who were complicit in creating the mess of the financial crash are the very ones who will benefit from our attempts to fix it.
Within the last couple of weeks the Scottish Government have made some concessions to get their budget approved, additional money is being made to schools to help close the attainment gap and local councils can raise income through council tax increases.
In reality, there are still millions to be removed from our budgets, no matter how you choose to dress it up.
Arguably the cuts in our budgets are as a consequence of Westminster austerity measures. This should not mean that we must sit back and consider ourselves powerless to act in the defence of local government.
Standing together as one Trade Unions, Politicians, Staff and Communities can begin a campaign of defiance and refuse to implement more cuts. Let us use the powers the Scottish Parliament have to protect the services we value and our communities rely on.
Politicians are voted in to protect the communities who elect them. Well the 18,000 employees are also part of these communities and our message today to our elected politicians is…….
Public Services must be protected.
Jobs, Terms & Conditions must be protected and
Local Communities must be protected!
It’s time to tell them what we want before public services become nothing but a section in a history book.