UNISON highlights double whammy effect of austerity and local government reorganisation in Wales

In response to the release of  Welsh public services minister Leighton Andrews’ consultation, Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People, UNISON Cymru/Wales head of local government Dominic MacAskill said:

“There is a general consensus across Wales that council restructuring is both necessary and inevitable.

“However, despite the fact that this debate has been ongoing for some time now, we appear to be no further forward in terms of a blueprint for the future map of local government in Wales.

“This lack of certainty is dangerous for the future of Welsh local government. Ongoing deliberations are leaving the local government workers feeling demoralised and fearful for their futures.

“Our members are experiencing a double whammy effect as a result of this indecision.

“On the one hand councils are far too often turning to staff to make up budget shortfalls through job loss and cuts to terms and conditions, and on the other hand staff will face further disruption when councils are eventually restructured.

“UNISON is confident that further delays will exacerbate the damage being done to services as a result of austerity.

“Council mergers, based on evidenced benefits, must be progressed as a matter of urgency and our view is that this should take place within the existing health boundaries to ensure closer cooperation between health and social care.

“Local government services cannot continue to operate under a shadow of doubt and indecision. We need to protect public services in Wales and we need strong leadership to get on with the task in hand so that we can deliver those services.”