On Thursday, we braved the chill and snow to demonstrate outside the City Chambers in solidarity with fellow trade unionists, activists and concerned citizens as the Council met to approve next year’s budget.
The Council have delivered a balanced budget for 2022/23, thanks to an underspend in 2021/22 and a 3% Council Tax rise, however the forecast for the years following looks bleak, with a gap in 2023/24 of around £55m with this gap increasing around £25m each year thereafter. The Council have said there must be a ‘robust savings plan’—which we know by now, translates to more cuts.
The demonstrators sought to raise awareness of the impact of cuts and call for measures to tackle the crises we face today that will be worsened by further cuts and by failing to change how the Council delivers services. We need a shake up and we need it now.
Last week Audit Scotland published a social care briefing analysing the state of the sector and the challenges it faces. We encourage all staff in Health and Social Care to read this and provide a brief overview in the following article.
The findings confirm what Unite CEC Branch has long believed: that social care staff are low paid, overworked and undervalued, and that the current staffing crisis is not caused by external circumstances, but exposed by them. The cause of the crisis is historical poor treatment and undervaluing of social care workers.
The briefing raises further alarms about the marketisation of social care, which is particularly worrying as the SNP’s National Care Service (NCS)—or National Commissioning Service, as would be more accurate—is on the horizon. Proponents of the free market would argue that competition between companies increases standards and increases the range service users can choose from, yet the briefing reports with concern that
commissioning focuses on cost rather than quality. Competition between providers has been at the expense of collaboration and quality.