Unite the union says it is shocked and disappointed over plans to slash council budgets in Scotland.
Reacting to the Scottish Budget presented by finance secretary Derek Mackay, Unite regional officer William McGonigle said: “This budget takes us further down the austerity road towards social crisis in Scotland.
“Since 2010, councils in Scotland have suffered year-on-year cuts. Nearly 50,000 council jobs have been slashed – people who help to educate our children, who care for our elderly and disabled, who clean the streets, who make sure we have a clean, safe environment and who provide dozens of other vital services.
“Despite having new powers over taxation, The Scottish Government continues to follow Westminster’s austerity road. They might slow down the journey by tinkering with the higher income tax bands and council tax, but they’re fundamentally going down the same path as the Tories.
“We can’t go on like this. We need to take a new road towards a Scotland where we have the resources to properly care for each other. That means real progressive taxation, where those who can afford to pay most contribute more to protect the services we all rely on.
“We are shocked and disappointed that the Scottish Government has kept us on the same old road of cuts upon cuts upon cuts. Our members and the people of Scotland expected more.”
As well as moves towards real progressive taxation, Unite has repeatedly called on the Scottish Government to back the union’s Drop the Debt campaign.
This would see Scottish councils being given an amnesty on pre-devolution debt owed, lifting their debt burden by around £2.5 billion.
Unite is also calling for an end to the use of private finance in public sector contracts, with the Scottish Government’s NPD private finance scheme placing a debt burden of around £9 billion on councils, health boards and other public services.
Notes to editors:
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Unite Scotland media officer David Eyre on 07960 451631. Email firstname.lastname@example.org