We are currently waiting for the Government’s announcement of the Comprehensive Spending review, which is due on 20 October 2010. We will then know the reality of the scale of the ConDem planned cuts across public services over the next four years. Various levels of cuts have been trailed, from 25% to 40%, and anything close to the latter will lead to the devastation of our services.
The Government is using the excuse of the public borrowing deficit to justify a politically based assault on our public services. The Tory Government, disgracefully supported by the Lib Dems, would rather target those services our communities rely on than deal with tax evasion and tax avoidance. These two areas alone would do a great deal to cancel the borrowing deficit on their own. But tackling such abuses would mean challenging the Government’s own backers including multi-millionaire offshore tax avoiders. The Government is aided by the rabid groups who represent the rich few such as the Tax Avoiders’ Alliance who also advocate attacking our public service pensions.
Our Greater Manchester Pension Scheme is the most successful and financially viable scheme in the country but this does not stop the calls for our very modest pensions, which we have contributed to ourselves, to be reduced and the Hutton Report threatens our final salary scheme. Against this background some Councils have panicked and issued notice of possible redundancies already, even before any announcements are made. In Manchester we have worked towards a process to try and best deliver services and defend staff against compulsory redundancies; this is called m people.
I would urge every member employed by the City Council to consider the information in this issue and that which will be in the forthcoming ballot. Our Branch Executive is asking members to support m people as a way forward, but above all use your vote so the decision reflects the view of the majority of members.
Pat McDonagh (Branch Secretary)