I thought it would be helpful to provide a further update on the council’s budget position for 2019/20.
The budget gap is now estimated to be £3.389m and the indications are that this is the final position. The Scottish Government have also increased the cap on what councils can raise in council tax from 3% to 4.79%. If the council agree to increase council tax by 4.79% this will reduce the budget gap by £1.403m – leaving just under £2m to be found through cuts or use of reserves or possibly a combination of both. The council will meet on the 21st February to set the council tax for 2019/20.
In terms of what impact this could have on jobs and services, cuts totalling £4.145m have been identified. This includes 79 FTE posts. Over the next few weeks UNISON and the other trade unions will continue to press the case for a budget with no redundancies as we have done in previous years. In fact £1.8m of cuts that are being considered would, if taken, have no job losses and associated redundancy costs. This means that the council could set a balanced budget with little or no impact on jobs, especially if a small amount of reserves could be used.
Many of the service areas where job losses are being considered are not acceptable to UNISON. We are doing and will continue to do all we can to ensure that there are no job losses in; advice services, CLD services, community warden services, libraries and museums, schools including school cleaning, customer services and grounds services. We oppose cuts in these areas not just because we oppose redundancies, but because all of these services are important and in some cases and to some users of services essential.
The Council are due to set its budget on the 21st March
Unison (Inverclyde Branch)
30 Bawhirley Road,