Thursday, September 27, 2012

1000 Glaswegians face losing their jobs at Glasgow City Council as un-flexible SNP Council tax freeze wrecks havoc, public sector reform needed

Dear All

Sometime ago I wrote several suggestions, namely that there should be public sector reform in Scotland.

I have also said it was time to end the council tax freeze.

And I proposed as part of a wider plan, the City Sovereign Fund.

The aim of the fund was to refloat local government by putting a 3% surcharge on council tax. It was a small part of a much bigger idea to firewall local government and communities.

The money would be invested and part of it would be siphoned off to existing emergency council funds.

Nothing has been done in Scotland to improve local government apart from some minor window dressing.

The chickens are now coming home to roost.

Scotland’s largest council is preparing to axe one thousand jobs.

The reason is to balance the budget, so in order to do so they need to save close to £50m over the next two years.

In local authorities job losses are nothing new, already in Glasgow 3000 staff have gone since the 2010 cull of the over 50’s.

And after the 1,000 are put out on the street, expect further jobs to go at Glasgow City Council.

There will be more austerity on the way; effectively the SNP Government has tied local councils’ hands behind their backs, freeze local council tax or see a real terms cut to your budgets.

In freezing the council tax, the result is, reduced services and job losses and heavier workloads for staff and still no public sector reform.

At some point the SNP Government which is currently paralysed and doing ‘tripe’ to tick over will have to come to the conclusion that the freeze isn’t working.

Why should a millionaire get a council tax freeze like Jim McColl who lives in Monaco?

Do you remember Joyce Juszczak?

Joyce Juszczak needed the “miracle drug” eculizumab, I wrote prior to her physical collapse that Nicola Sturgeon should do something immediately and ensure she got the drug she needed.

Nicola Sturgeon, Health Secretary, Deputy First Minsiter and Deputy Leader of the SNP didn’t act fast enough and Joyce Juszczak suffered a relapse, she lost a third of her kidney.

Only after that she was put on the drug.

It was something to do with 'value for money', a real leader in charge of health would have pushed this through, a blind man could see the merits of that case staring them in the face.

Recently Alex Salmond’s Government blew £400k in a matter of weeks setting up his ‘London Embassy’ at the Olympics, more money wasted.

A visit to America to watch a cartoon et al saw circa £50k wasted, every penny of the Alex Salmond's Government ‘freebie’ agenda is a penny less available to care for the sick, vulnerable and disadvantaged.

And still no public sector reform, still no substance, no vision, just jingoism and spin.

In Glasgow, the Scottish National Party spent years complaining about ALEOs, when their ‘Glasgow’ manifesto was handed out at the GRA, not a single word about it or commitment to return ex council departments back to council control.

Apparently the SNP made much about the ‘living wage’ but as we are increasingly seeing people are going to be losing their jobs. The living wage is steadily going to a shrinking workforce right across Scotland.

Hardly an achievement.

Cuts are the easy way out, they require less thought and time to introduce, the trick is to make local government more viable and at present there is precious little talent to drive that forward.

The SNP were screaming about 35 job losses at the BBC in the press, I can only assume that 1,000 people will no doubt attract their attention with claims about how this could have been avoided if Glaswegians had vote the SNP to run the council.

But if you look at their manifesto, it was a much lesser document than Glasgow Labour produced, no weight, no gravitas and not exactly 'goodie' laden either.

Can Glasgow expect additional help?

It seems that the SNP Government is keen to keep money in the North East and East of Scotland; Glasgow will no doubt be thrown some scraps.

The folly of not starting public sector reform will see more cuts as budgets are further reduced, no George Laird radical thinking kicking about the place. 

Will Nicola Sturgeon save these 1,000 jobs?

I think not!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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