I am providing a further update regarding the 2019/20 budget.
The council will set it’s council tax for 2019/20 when it meets on the 21st February. UNISON and the other trade unions are encouraging the council to increase council tax by 4.79% as this would generate an additional £0.5m of revenue. This would also mean £0.5m less of cuts to jobs and services, which we believe on balance is better for UNISON members. If the council choose to increase council tax by 3% – the other likely option – then cuts to jobs and frontline services will, in our view, significantly increase.
The council have now publicised the options for cuts which councillors will be considering over the next few weeks prior to setting a budget on the 21st March. None of these options will come as any great surprise as most were included in the budget public consultation exercise last year. UNISON and the other trade unions have identified a number of possible cuts which we are doing all we can to resist. These are cuts where the job losses impact will be difficult to manage either through voluntary redundancy or redeployment. We are also opposed to some cuts which we believe are excessive. This is where the level of cuts being proposed are disproportionate when compared to the size of service. The proposed cuts which we are opposed to are: CLD services, libraries & museums, cuts to posts in schools including school cleaning, customer services, community wardens and advice services. As stated in our previous communication, the council could set a balanced budget without the need to cut these services if the higher rate of council tax is increased.
New Pay & Grading Model
The policy & resources committee agreed when it last met that implementation of the new pay and grading model would be considered as part of the budget process. The new pay and grading model will consolidate the Scottish living wage into a new pay structure and will replace the existing practice of living wage supplements. It will also restore previous grading differentials at the lower end of the pay scale. We have this week had very constructive discussions with elected members on this issue. As a result we are hopeful that the new pay and grading model will be come into effect as planned on the 1st April 2019.
Unison (Inverclyde Branch)