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North Ayrshire Cuts Fears

Monday, February 15, 2016

GMB Scotland Fear North Ayrshire Council Meeting On Wednesday 17 February Will Give Green Light To Savage Cuts In Services

These proposed cuts will have a devastating impact on employees and will have a disproportionate effect on the poorest and most vulnerable residents of North Ayrshire says GMB Scotland.

GMB Scotland fear that North Ayrshire Councillors meeting on Wednesday 17th February give the green light to job losses and savage cuts to public services.

Some of the proposed cuts include school cleaners being put on a 4 day week, primary school kitchens being closed for cooking purposes and a reduction in street cleansing and grounds maintenance services. Council members are required to approve a package of ‘efficiencies and savings’ totalling £2.204m for 2016/17 to deliver a balanced budget whilst maintaining council tax at 2007/08 levels. See notes for previous releases on North Ayrshire budget cuts.

Paul Arkison, GMB Scotland regional organiser, said "Once again it is the lowest paid council workers and the most vulnerable in society who suffer with these cuts.

Many North Ayrshire Council employees are now facing a cut in the hours that they are working resulting in a severe loss of income, which always has a disproportionate effect on the lowest paid.  Politicians need to stop shouting across the border at each other and start to reflect on how the lowest paid are going to cope with these proposals.

These proposed massive cuts will have a devastating impact on employees and will have a disproportionate effect on the poorest and most vulnerable residents of North Ayrshire.

With cuts on this scale, people will be pushed towards higher levels of debt and will end up relying on the use of food banks or pushed towards loan sharks in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. For working people to be placed in this position is devastating.

North Ayrshire Council is paying out approximately £1,000,000 per month in payments to private companies for the maintenance and cleaning of 4 schools in North Ayrshire.

It is regrettable that the Scottish Parliament rejected the proposal to add 1p on income tax with the rebate for the lower paid. This would have gone some way to reverse the erosion of the tax base in Scotland where the eight year freeze in council tax has led to a loss of £450m per year which councils would have had if council tax had kept pace with inflation.

This erosion of the tax base only applies in Scotland and can only be remedied in Scotland. Above all there is a need to end the policy of paying for local government in Scotland by “robbing Peter to pay Paul ." It is not right that wealthy Scottish households pay less council tax in real terms than eight years ago leading to cuts to jobs and services in Scotland’s least affluent areas.”

End

Contact: Paul Arkison 07801 656533 or Alex McLuckie 07885 348269 or GMB Scotland 0141 332 8641 or GMB Press Office 07921 289880 or 07974 251823 or 07860 401860.

Notes to Editors

Copy of GMB press release dated 13 January 2016

NO TO NORTH AYRSHIRE SCHOOL CUTS

GMB Scotland North Ayrshire School Support Staff Fear For Child Safety And Quality Of Education From £500,000 Budget Cuts

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning should intervene to halt these dangerous cuts within North Ayrshire Council’s schools says GMB Scotland.

GMB Scotland, the union for school support staff, is asking North Ayrshire Council to pull back and Angela Constance MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in the Scottish Government, to intervene on budget cuts for school support staff.

This is after members expressed concern for safety in schools and a detrimental impact on education. See notes to editors for the details of the consultation and GMB press release dated 30th October 2015 on the £500,000 cuts to the education budget. 

GMB Scotland members are employed as clerical assistants, pupil welfare and home inclusion officers. They were asked four questions in a consultation in December 2015, including ‘Do you think parents would be concerned about their child’s safety if there was a reduction in front line services at their child’s school?’.  100% of the responses answered ‘Yes’ to this question.

Paul Arkison, GMB Scotland regional organiser, said “The findings from our survey show that there is real concern about the safety of school pupils if there are cuts to frontline services within North Ayrshire’s schools. 

This should be seriously worrying as this evidence has been provided by those who know best – the GMB Scotland members who work in the schools.

This is the harsh reality of what happens when huge spending cuts are put in place. The impact of these cuts will be felt far and wide. 

With staff numbers reducing and hours being cut our members will see an increased workload with less pay. In addition, members have identified that the safety of school children will be placed in

jeopardy, which is a concern to everyone.

There is clear evidence coming through that if these cuts are progressed then there will be a severe negative impact on a child’s learning experience. 

With this evidence now clear, GMB Scotland has again written to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning asking her to directly intervene to halt these dangerous cuts within North Ayrshire Council’s schools.”

Copy of GMB press release dated 30 October 2015

GMB OPPOSE NORTH AYRSHIRE CUTS

GMB Scotland Requests That Scottish Government Education Secretary Intervenes In Education Cuts In North Ayrshire

These cuts are hammer blow to the highly dedicated staff who work so hard in already very difficult circumstances to provide such an important service says GMB Scotland
 
GMB Scotland, the union for school support staff, has contacted Angela Constance MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in the Scottish Government , to request that she intervenes in the crisis that surrounds North Ayrshire Council's proposal to cut its education budget by £500,000.
 
This GMB' Scotland request has arisen  after North Ayrshire Council announced to its Education Business Support Staff, School Office Staff and Pupil Support Staff that huge cuts would be happening within a much quicker timescale than expected.
 
Paul Arkison of GMB Scotland said: "The announcement of these cuts is a hammer blow to the highly dedicated staff who work so hard in already very difficult circumstances to provide such an important service.

With huge cuts affecting every part of the public sector, this will be particularly alarming for pupils and families and it is my trade union's view that this will, without any doubt, have a hugely negative effect on the educational provisions in North Ayrshire and looks to threaten many highly valued jobs.
 
GMB Scotland  has now written to Angela Constance MSP to request that the Scottish Government hold talks with the Trades Unions, North Ayrshire Council and the Scottish Government to see if an alternative solution can be found, rather than attacking schools to make savings.

Given that in August of this year the First Minister stated that education was to be a priority for her government, how can this be deemed to be a relevant claim when such a significant amount of money is being taken out of this council's education budget in an accelerated timescale?

Sadly the geographical area of North Ayrshire has some of the highest levels of unemployment and economic inactivity in Scotland and coupled together with these proposals from North Ayrshire Council, the First Minister's comments whereby she pledged to close the schooling gap between the rich and poor areas of Scotland seem to be far removed from reality in North Ayrshire."

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