The Scottish Government have announced that they intend to issue their draft budget on the 6th
February. It is expected that the final budget will receive parliamentary approval week commencing
the 2nd March. As a result Inverclyde Council will set council tax at a meeting on the 29th February
and approve its final budget on the 12th March.
UNISON and the other trade unions have met with all elected members and have put forward the
case for a progressive budget that protects jobs and services. Taking account of many factors such
as the estimated budget gap, options for raising council tax, reserves and charges – there is clearly
scope for the council to approve a budget which protects jobs and services. There is further scope to
do so and at the same time for the council not to compromise on their own political priorities. The
council have already agreed several million pounds worth of savings in areas that were regarded as
‘relatively painless’. These were approved at council meetings last September and November. The
financial predicament which the council now faces is far less precarious than in many other councils.
We will be doing all we can to ensure there are no cuts to CLD and Library services, jobs that
members carry out in schools, key services in social protection, frontline children’s services and
assessment and care management services. We are also fully opposed to the crude privatisation of the
respite unit at Hillend.
UNISON will also be campaigning at a national level as we fully recognise that these cuts would not
be necessary if Local Government was responsibly and fairly funded. We are all becoming increasingly
frustrated when listening to the Scottish Government’s rhetoric when they try to explain that council funding has not been cut.