Photo credit: Tracey Paddison
Responding to the budget proposals for 2019/20 to be considered by the City and County of Swansea council, Simon Dunn, UNISON Cymru Wales regional organiser said,
“We haven’t had the opportunity to consider the proposals in detail but hundreds of potential jobs losses is really grim news.
“Swansea residents have every right to be very worried about the future of the vital public services they use. Library, leisure, youth, care and highways maintenance services, amongst other things, will be reduced further or close if even more local authority jobs disappear.
“28,100 local authority jobs have been lost across Wales since 2010 as a result of severe spending cuts driven by the UK Westminster government. Welsh councils are under intolerable financial pressure and they face multi-million pound budget gaps between now and 2022 at a time when Wales’ population is growing.
“The public demand for services is still there and there is absolutely no more scope for cuts in public services. UNISON is calling for a halt to the UK Conservative government austerity programme and for investment in public services. There are also a number of practical ways in which the Welsh government can assist in helping local authorities and we need their immediate assistance.”
Chris Cooze, City & County of Swansea branch secretary, said,
“UNISON will be campaigning to prevent compulsory redundancies and limit the impact on our members in Swansea. Every job lost is a tragedy for that person and their family but it also hits our local shops and the services everyone in Swansea relies on.
“The UNISON branch chair David White today handed over a petition at the Senedd signed by hundreds of Swansea council employees calling on the Welsh government to improve funding for local authorities.”
Notes for editors
The trade union has called on the Welsh government to assist in protecting local public services in the following ways:
(a) Legislate to provide a ‘power of general competence’ for local authorities in Wales.
(b) Increase revenue support grant by at least the percentage increase in the funding from HM Treasury so that the aggregate external financing (revenue) to local authorities returns to at least 2013/14 levels in real terms
(c) Encourage local authorities to use their existing powers to provide goods and services to other parts of the public sector in Wales, and to trade by developing the range of goods and services that can be supplied to members of the public in general and to the private sector more generally
(d) Work with local authorities in Wales to release existing revenue streams through, for example debt refinancing, prudent changes to MRP policy utilising the opportunities afforded by historically low interest rates
(e) The introduction of indicative three yearly grant settlements
Even though Welsh government recently provided additional monies to local authorities, there is still a real term cut to their funding and it does not address the cumulative effect of nearly a decade of austerity.
Link to UNISON’s report: Audit of Austerity launched last week explaining how local authorities have been affected by austerity
According to the ONS Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey 28,100 council jobs were lost between Q1 2010 and Q1 2018 – equivalent to losing the seven largest private sector employers in Wales
For every 6 council jobs in Q1 2010 there are only 5 in Q1 2018
Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 53 83 97