The massive cuts to local authority budgets in Greater Manchester announced by the ConDem government are nothing less than an attack on our city, our public services and our communities.
Even accepting the Government’s massaged figures, Manchester received the deepest cuts in the country, whilst affluent, Tory voting areas in the South, such as Dorset, were spared the axe.
It wasn’t spending on Children’s Centres, support for the elderly, schools, libraries, regenerating our communities, welfare rights or youth services that caused the financial crisis; yet it’s the people that rely on these public services and others that will be the ones that will struggle.
Despite what Secretary of State Pickles says, this is neither fair nor intelligent. The ConDem cuts will cause massive damage to a wide range of essential public services, leaving individuals and communities even less well protected against the recession that the Government’s reckless and destructive economic policies are worsening.
UNISON will continue to stand up for public services, and for workers who provide these services. We’ve never been anti-reform, and recognise that it is right wherever possible to always seek efficiencies through better ways of meeting the needs of the public, which is why we’re working closely with the City Council to seek to reduce the impact of these cuts on services and employees as much as is possible.
But people need to understand that the sheer scale of the cuts is going to impact on everyone in some way in Manchester, directly or indirectly.
We will work with service users, community and voluntary sector groups to campaign against these cuts.
There are other, fairer and much more effective ways of dealing with the crisis caused by the banks that we, the public, were forced to bail out ,such as tackling tax evasion and avoidance, not least by bankers, than slashing services to our community.
I hope people across Greater Manchester will support us in this work as we, unlike the Cabinet of millionaire ConDem politicians, really are in this all together in trying to defend public services.
UNISON Manchester Branch Secretary