UNISON has always given its members the choice of opting in to its affiliated political fund, that gives them a say in the democratic processes of the Labour Party, or of opting into the General Political Fund, independent of any political party. For those members that choose to opt into the affiliated political fund the following will be of interest.
Branch Labour Link Officer, Francesca Brennan gives her thoughts:
Local Government – Time for a serious discussion
“UNISON members understand what it means to serve. Our work enriches communities, improves human experiences, saves lives. But yet we can all be guilty of forgetting, due to the relative lack of glamour in public service, that our workplace roles are invaluable ingredients of civilised society. Local government is like good parenting – it looks after you so well that you can sometimes take it for granted.
Every time a UNISON member goes to work, somebody’s life is vastly improved as a result. People find it easy to talk about public spending but public saving is the real essence of local government. When the costs of projects to improve childhood wellbeing, for example, are offset against money that can potentially later be saved on healthcare and criminal justice spending, there is nothing but a strong case in favour of investment in local services.
Yet on 20th August our union was forced to call for ‘serious discussion’ about the long-term sustainability of local government, stating that a £1bn funding gap in Scotland is putting local government in crisis. UNISON is now asking for Scottish Government to engage in a discussion about the role of local government in Scotland and it should be a discussion they take very seriously.
Unlike our local councillors who have worked hard to stave off cuts to council services here in Inverclyde, I feel that Scottish Government is hesitant in valuing local government, reluctant to treasure our public services and highly resistant to awarding proper funding. A bit like the businessmen in The Apprentice TV series choosing winners solely on their ability to make money and not on any other skills, qualities or lasting impact they may have, the SNP’s continued failure to invest in local services is short-sighted, dated and negligent.
So I sincerely hope that Scottish Government heed UNISON’s warnings before it is too late. After all, the financial cost of living in a civilised society will never be more than the human cost of losing that society’s privileges.“