Heather Wakefield tells Unison members to fight council cuts

    Unison has pledged to campaign for protected social care budgets by helping members expose holes in council budgets.

    The union’s head of local government, Heather Wakefield, said Unison had already started training activists to analyse financial statements and help them stop employers pushing through damaging spending cuts. It will shortly issue guidance to members on the subject.

    Addressing Unison’s National Social Care and Home Care conference in Manchester, she said members needed to become more “technical” as well as political in their campaigning against local government spending cuts brought about by the recession.”We are facing the biggest threat to the welfare state that we’ve faced in the post-war period, in the form of spending cuts and threats to frontline jobs,” Wakefield said.

    “More and more I’m absolutely shocked at the terrible treatment of social care staff, but despite all the things that are happening – 15,000 jobs being cut, services being slashed, council tax frozen – people still aren’t aware of what’s going on.”

    Wakefield said the union had already had “really big successes of exposing and challenging what councils are doing”, having blocked what they considered inappropriate budgets in Nottingham and Doncaster councils recently.

    “We want to challenge councils about unaffordable or mismanaged budgets.

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