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Unison branch calls for no-cuts budget

Unison has appealed to councillors on Carmarthenshire Council to step back from implementing cuts but instead to campaign for a no-cuts budget.

The letter opens with the heading “No Merry Christmas for members whose jobs are under threat – No Happy New Year for the public whose services will be devastated. Set a legal no cuts budget, defend jobs, services and communities” and goes on to outline how the councillors can take a stand against the cuts.

We republish it in full below:

“No Merry Christmas for members whose jobs are under threat

“No Happy New Year for the public whose services will be devastated

“SET A LEGAL NO CUTS BUDGET

“DEFEND JOBS, SERVICES AND COMMUNITIES

“Dear Carmarthenshire County Councillor,

“Carmarthenshire County Council’s (CCC) public consultation for setting a ‘balanced budget’ for 2019-2022 is correct when it states that the Welsh Assembly (Labour) Government (WAG) have cut Local Authority budgets year-on-year. However what the consultation omits to mention is that Labour’s WAG’s last cuts budget was only passed because Plaid Cymru AM’s abstained on the vote.

“Our branch has consistently called on the Labour WAG to implement a No Cuts budget and not pass on Tory cuts. We have consistently argued that Carmarthenshire County Councillors should oppose Tory cuts by passing a No Cuts Budget instead of doing the Tories dirty work for them.

“We presented a no cuts budget to the previous Labour led council in 2014 and to the current Plaid/Independent led Council in 2017 suffice to say our budget(s), which demonstrated how all cuts could be avoided by using reserves and borrowing etc. were ignored.

“The result of implementing Tory cuts as we predicted then has made a bad situation worse. Services are in a parlous state and the Local Authority now has to make another £28m cuts in three years with £9m this year alone. We predicted that the claim of the Local Authority that they were making ‘efficiency savings’ to protect jobs and services would not be enough to stop compulsory redundancies or protect services and the latest proposals for ‘efficiency savings’ has shown us to be correct.

“Pointing the finger at the Labour WAG does not absolve you of your responsibility, telling us there is nothing you can do to fight cuts amounts to fiddling while Rome burns. You are responsible for your own actions/inactions and will be held to account by our members and the public.

“The choice you face when deciding whether to support the above cuts budget has serious consequences for our members and the public. If you vote for cuts they will further damage local communities, adversely impacting on the most vulnerable, cutting jobs, services and making hard working staff work even harder with the inevitable negative consequences on their mental health and stress levels.

“We are calling on Carmarthenshire County Council to make a stand before it is too late. Unison (LGSGE), GMB, Unite (Local Government) and the Wales TUC all support the setting of legal no cuts budgets. Use the time a No Cuts Budget gives you to call on other councils to do the same. Build a mass campaign of resistance starting in Wales that could be the beginning of the end of the Tories. and Tory austerity.

“We don’t envisage that the current Plaid/Independent leadership will side with its employees and the communities of Carmarthenshire in opposing all cuts- as yet again the council has embarked on yet another sham public consultation for setting its budget for 2019-2022. £28milion of savage cuts has become the innocuously sounding ‘efficiency savings’ and if you don’t agree to these cuts your council tax will go up! The council has no mandate for its budget when it is not being honest with the public and its employees about the cuts it is proposing to make and the consequences of making these cuts.

“We are advocating a strategy to defeat Local Government cuts and we call on Plaid/Independent leadership of CCC if you don’t agree with our strategy then advocate another that can defeat the cuts rather than administer Tory cuts with barely a complaint. We call on you to publicly debate our No Cuts Budget strategy and put forward an alternative if you have one.

“We will continue to oppose all cuts and increases of council tax that represent a cut in living standards for our members and the public. We will campaign and mobilise our members and the public to take action including industrial action to fight all vicious Tory cuts passed on by this council.

“Yours sincerely

“Mark Evans

“Branch Secretary Carmarthenshire County UNISON Branch “