Union warning ahead of march on Holyrood

Unite were involved in the protest in Motherwell last month, now its members head to Edinburgh.
Unite were involved in the protest in Motherwell last month, now its members head to Edinburgh.

Trade union Unite Scotland has warned the Scottish Government that local authorities are getting caught up in a ‘perfect storm of austerity’.

It believes local government funding cuts, the council tax freeze and the repayment of maturing debts are set to combine to devastate Scottish council jobs and services.

Local government workers will march on the Scottish Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday) in protest against council budget cuts which will result in thousands of job losses.

Unite members will also reiterate calls for the Scottish Parliament to support a lobby of the UK treasury for the write-off of an estimated £2.5 billion worth of pre-devolution debt owed by councils.

Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “Make no mistake our councils are being force fed an austerity agenda that’s been manufactured by the Tories in Westminster but delivered by the Scottish government.

“Invidious choices are being made across the country but the blame will ultimately come back to the Scottish government unless it is prepared to co-operate with councils and trade unions now to explore alternatives.

“From that end Unite members have made the case for an amnesty on pre-devolution debt owed to the treasury by our local authorities.

“There is no quick-fix but we’ve lost 60,000 jobs across local government since 2009 and we cannot afford to lose thousands more.

“Urgent interventions are required if we want to sustain the local jobs and services so many of us take for granted and doing nothing will see them swallowed-up by a perfect storm of austerity.”