Councillors Need to Stand Up for Lancashire

Lancashire braced for a storm as Government cuts destroy services.

Commenting on Lancashire County Council’s announcement of plans for cutting 900 whole time equivalent jobs, UNISON Branch Secretary Elaine Cotterell said: 

“This is a very worrying day for people across Lancashire.  It is evident now that the scale of cuts that the Government is imposing on the County will affect every community and every council service. 

“The proposed cuts will undoubtedly impact on services that are desperately needed.  Over 200 jobs are to go in Children’s Centres and Youth Services, reducing early help for vulnerable families.  Plans to cut the welfare rights service at a time when the Government is planning to implement universal credit and slash tax credits will deny people the advice they need at a time when they need it.  It is very sad  that the short break service is being cut.  It will mean that parents of disabled children will be denied access to respite care that has been such a lifeline for many families in the County.  Cuts to the Council transport service will mean more isolation for our older people who will no longer be taken to day centres.    

“Our cultural services are to be decimated with the proposed closure of 40 libraries and five museums.  By 2018, over 200 whole time equivalent posts in libraries will be lost – that’s around half the workforce.  With more than half of our libraries due to close, many people across Lancashire will be losing their local library, and this will be a big loss to communities.    

“Cuts to jobs in the Youth Offending Service, combined with the large cut in the Police budget, will mean that vital interventions in the lives of young people will not be made and our communities will be less safe.   

“The scale of the job cuts will damage the local economy and will be a terrible blow to hundreds of households in the County.  With 900 whole time equivalent jobs going, we anticipate that could mean up to 2,000 people losing their jobs.  Some staff have been in tears at the workplace meetings revealing the scale of the cuts, and many are worried about the impact on them, their families, and on the communities they serve.

“It seems that David Cameron didn’t realise the effect his own Government’s cuts are having on services provided by his local council in Oxfordshire.  There is no easy way for councils to respond to year-after-year of severe budget cuts without impacting on the well-being of our communities.  We desperately need our County councillors to stand up for Lancashire and tell the Government in no uncertain turns that these cuts cannot be done without causing real harm.      

“The Government talks about a Northern Powerhouse but the reality for Lancashire is that by 2018 we will have had over £500m cut from our services.  There is an urgent need for a change in Central Government policy.  We need fair funding for our public services and a fair deal for Lancashire.”        

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