Socialist Worker

Scottish Labour and the SNP bicker over who’s to blame for council cuts

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2534

Striking IT workers and their council colleagues lobby the council

Striking IT workers and their council colleagues join a festive lobby of the council privatisers (Pic: Clare Kerr)


Cuts to council budgets in Scotland could total £700 million by the end of this parliament according to a new report.

This is on top of over £1 billion already slashed in the past five years.

The think tank figures, commissioned by a group of Labour councils, were published ahead of the Scottish National Party (SNP) government’s budget announcement on Thursday.

It argued that councils would see a 10 percent funding cut if the SNP continues to implement Tory austerity and sticks to its manifesto promises.

The SNP committed to increase NHS spending by £500 million more than inflation over five years.

It also said it will maintain police funding and expand free childcare provision by an extra £500 million.

Labour argues the report it has sponsored blows a hole in SNP claims to have kept council funding settlements broadly the same. The SNP, predictably, argues the opposite.

But ordinary people are suffering while the politicians sling mud at one another ahead of the council elections in May.

Day care and community centres have been closed. Mental health and social care services are being obliterated. And council workers’ jobs and conditions are under attack.

Jobs

Some 7,000 local government jobs in Scotland have been cut this year alone.

Union leaders in Scotland don’t seem to have the stomach for a real fight over the constant attacks from whichever party runs the local council.

The May elections provide an opportunity to launch industrial action that can wring concessions from politicians when they are more vulnerable to pressure.

Bitterness and anger is rising against both Labour and the SNP.

Everywhere outsourcing and privatisation are on the rise.

Councillors who claim to be anti-austerity bleat on about having to make “difficult choices” as they axe our services.

A new electoral alliance has formed against the cuts in SNP-run Dundee for May.

The ruling Labour councillors fear another electoral wipe out for their party in Glasgow and other parts of Scotland. Some deselected Labour candidates in North Lanarkshire are now set to run against their former colleagues.

Council workers in Glasgow give an example of the resistance that is needed across the board.

School janitors working for an outsourced council-run firm are battling to regain benefits lost when Labour hived them off years ago. They went on strike again for five days on Monday.

IT workers are also in the middle of a three-week walkout against privatisation.

These fights must be brought together—not just in Glasgow but at every council across Scotland

Send messages of solidarity to the strikers at enquiries@glasgowcityunison.co.uk

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