We are now entering the final phase of the decision making process for the 2018/20 budget. First up is the full Council meeting on the 22nd February when elected members will set the council tax for next year including any increase from last year. UNISON’s position is that council tax should increase by 3% over the next two years. This is the maximum increase available to local authorities if they are to avoid penalties from the Scottish Government. If the Council decide not to apply a full 3% increase then this will mean more cuts to jobs and services.
Next is the 15th March when the council will agree a two year budget including those service areas to be cut or withdrawn. UNISON has met with all elected members and put forward the case to retain 116 frontline jobs. These jobs are critical in ensuring that services are delivered properly and effectively. They also are jobs which will provide employment opportunities in the years ahead for young people and the unemployed. Relatively speaking Council employees do receive better terms and conditions including pension benefits then other employers locally. This makes the council an employer of choice for many.
The process of setting a balanced budget remains a major challenge for the Council. However this can be achieved without the need to cut these frontline jobs. Additional funding has been awarded to the Council and this will reduce the budget shortfall and the need to cut jobs and services.
Unison Inverclyde campaigned throughout the Consultation period meeting members of the public to make them aware of the impact the Cuts will have on the local community.
Unison Inverclyde Officers, Diane Drysdale, Karen Cracknell and Callum McLellan pictured above while campaigning in Greenock.