JOINT STATEMENT - LIVERPOOL ONE STOP SHOPS
UNISON members in Liverpool One Stop Shops have agreed proposals that retain a permanent One Stop Shop presence and secures jobs going forward, whilst enabling Liverpool City Council to achieve a balanced budget.
The proposals secure a vital and much valued service, extending the One Stop Shop offer to more communities in our City, an outcome of which UNISON Liverpool City branch are particularly proud.
This successful outcome has been achieved only through patient and constructive dialogue between UNISON and Council officers. We are extremely grateful to the Acting Mayor, Wendy Simon, for facilitating those discussions and her efforts in helping to achieve this positive outcome.
UNISON Liverpool City branch recognises that the Council continues to face a difficult financial situation as a result of successive funding cuts by central government. As a trade union we remain committed to doing all that we can to campaign and lobby the government for fairer funding for cities like Liverpool.
Liverpool City Council- Save Our Shops
We work within the four remaining One Stop Shops (OSS) in Liverpool. We provide a vital service to the residents of the city, supporting some of the most vulnerable members of our community to access vital public services.
We provide a wide range of support- from supporting local people with accessing housing benefit, to fielding questions about council tax, parking, bins and environmental health. In 2019, we supported almost 160,000 local people including providing vital assistance to those who cannot access support online, or those who don't speak English as a first language.
But now, the entire One Stop Shop service is under threat, as Liverpool City Council have made a budget proposal to close ALL FOUR remaining One Stop Shops- this would mean that there would be no permanent office for the residents of the City to go to for advice and support.
Our service has already been cut to the bone. In October 2020 the service lost 99 full time jobs and this reduced the service from eight One Stop Shops across the city to the four which are now left.
Our four remaining One Stop Shops serve some of the most deprived communities in the country, with three out of four shops serving areas that are classed in the 0-1% most deprived areas nationally.
Without our service- local residents will all be expected to access services digitally, yet 73,000 local residents are aged over 65 and we know that many of these residents are not computer literate and have no access to broadband or the equipment needed.
To make matters worse, a very high proportion of our regular customers are local residents who do not have English as a first language- One Stop Shops are a lifeline to these residents who would otherwise struggle to access key services. We must not abandon local people in some of the most deprived areas of the UK during the most challenging period of our lifetime.
We understand that Liverpool City Council has some very difficult budgetary decisions to make. The city has been one of the worst hit areas in the country by the effects of over a decade of brutal austerity. There are no easy austerity cuts to make eleven years into a Conservative Government which has neglected local authorities such as ours. That being said, it is clear that the shops provide a lifeline to the community and we call on the council to save this service.
Liverpool City Council's proposal to close the One Stop Shops is being consulted upon until 13 Feb 2021. This proposal will have a massive detrimental effect on the residents of Liverpool, and may also make 40 skilled public service workers redundant- it must not be implemented, please support Liverpool UNISON to Save Our Shops.
You can support our campaign by signing our petition, sharing it, contacting your councillors and MPs. #SaveOurShopsLiverpool. Thank you and stay safe.