Unison have flagged up their ‘grave concerns’ over the potential impact of Northumberland’s £130m budget cuts over the next five years
New research from Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting (CIPFA) predicts that government cuts will reach 23% of the county budget by the General Election in 2015.
CIPFA have pointed to actual cuts in the county of 9.54% for 2014-15 and eye watering cuts of 13.1% in 2015-16 despite local government minister Brandon Lewis describing the cuts ‘as a good day for local government’.
The Labour led administration at County Hall have announced initial plans to cut £32m in year one but Unison is calling for closer discussions to ensure that services are protected.
Unison says it will ensure there is a wide consultation with its members and those in sister unions and provide feedback to councillors. The union also pledged to encourage all community groups to contribute to the budget consultation.
Ian Fleming, Unison join branch secretary, said: “Coalition government cuts over the next four years mean the council budget will be cut by a third.
“Unison will be pressing the administration to live up to promises to protect front line services and to make sure that any reorganisation takes into account the needs of service users and employees who deliver those services.
He added: “This Tory-led government has signalled that it doesn’t value the public sector and public sector workers and while we applaud the Labour council’s decision not to ‘outsource’ services, we believe that our members have a right to expect that they will be supported in delivering excellent public services in the county.
“We have to challenge the ‘big lie’ that the country is broke and the only way to save money is to ‘flog off’ our public services on the cheap to the private sector. It’s not. Unison will continue to press the case for well-funded and publicly owned alternatives to the government rush to ‘outsource and privatise services’.”