Video: UNISON protest at Somerset County Council cuts meeting

Bridgwater Mercury: UNISON protest at Somerset County Council cuts meeting UNISON protest at Somerset County Council cuts meeting

 

UNISON members protested outside County Hall today as councillors rubber-stamped scores of redundancies and service cuts in an effort to claw back millions in savings.

The union says it is prepared to mount legal challenges against the cost-cutting proposals, which will see reductions and job cuts across an array of services from children and young people, to highways and planning.

Councillors were forced to push through £16million of cuts at the budget setting meeting after a tough Government settlement and increased demand for services left a gaping hole in the authority’s finances.

County Hall is freezing council tax this year at £1,027.30 for Band D households, but Unison have attacked that decision, arguing that a rise of 2.5% would go some way to soften the blow.

“Freezing council tax for another year just does not make sense,” said Oliver Foster-Burnell, Unison’s Somerset branch area organiser.

“Over the last four years there has been a continued freeze on staff pay, as well as on tax, yet during this time the council has shed hundreds of jobs and cut services.

“This Conservative administration is not reflecting the needs of the community, nor are they doing anything to challenge the diminishing grants given to them by the Government. “Instead of towing the party line, they could take a stance and stand up for their community, their constituents, their services and their local economy.”

The Somerset Labour Party has also condemned the scale and depth of the cuts, adding that it will be ‘demanding’ that the Conservative leadership reconsiders its priorities.

“The areas that have been hit don’t make any sense. They are cutting preventative services while having to pay for more children to be put into care,” said group leader Andrew Govier.

“They are cutting preventative services while having to pay for more children to be put into care.

“The leadership has in the past talked about how vulnerable people are their priority - if so it’s not readily apparent from the service areas where the greatest cuts fall.”

In a separate development, the council received a last minute windfall of more than £770,000 after a revision of its Government settlement revealed a miscalculation. Councillors say they will plough more than half a million pounds back into frontline services and contribute the rest towards a series of flood prevention measures.

Comments (4)

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11:31am Wed 20 Feb 13

leemendos says...

Why not get rid of half the county councillers to be honest there not needed and what about all the works there doing in county council offices hundreds of thousands spent on it and most likely not needed
Why not get rid of half the county councillers to be honest there not needed and what about all the works there doing in county council offices hundreds of thousands spent on it and most likely not needed leemendos

11:55am Wed 20 Feb 13

jimeee says...

Labour telling us about finance...lol...as bad as lib dems saying we need to be careful with the finances...haha.
Labour telling us about finance...lol...as bad as lib dems saying we need to be careful with the finances...haha. jimeee

12:42pm Wed 20 Feb 13

Gem64 says...

While this meeting was going ahead, a large part of the carpark at County Hall an essential place for front line staff who have to go out and visit the most vulnerable in our communities at a drop of a hat, was reserved for the Councillers to park their large expensive cars some with personalised number plates, no doubt a nice three course meal provided on the tax payer. Shame on you all, use a car park and let the staff who need to park outside their offices park. A disgrace and makes me feel sick.
While this meeting was going ahead, a large part of the carpark at County Hall an essential place for front line staff who have to go out and visit the most vulnerable in our communities at a drop of a hat, was reserved for the Councillers to park their large expensive cars some with personalised number plates, no doubt a nice three course meal provided on the tax payer. Shame on you all, use a car park and let the staff who need to park outside their offices park. A disgrace and makes me feel sick. Gem64

9:50pm Wed 20 Feb 13

BlueHazell says...

We have a choice in May between two Tory parties and a week Labour party.
I suspect that the cuts will be bad later when the Blue Tories and Lib Dem Tories have been re-elected and there bums are safe for another four years.
We have a choice in May between two Tory parties and a week Labour party. I suspect that the cuts will be bad later when the Blue Tories and Lib Dem Tories have been re-elected and there bums are safe for another four years. BlueHazell

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