Annal Nayyar- Article re: Cuts causing ‘staggering’ loss of local services, Unison says

Government cuts are hitting vital services and damaging local communities across the country, according to a trade union dossier.

Calling on the Government to invest in growth instead of making further spending cuts, Unison said communities are losing essential local health and support services while central cuts continue to close or limit cultural activities, leisure spaces and education facilities.

The Unison survey of cuts announced in 2013 finds local authorities across the country are making job cuts in order to achieve savings, while charges are frequently increasing for services such as rubbish collection and home care.

Free swimming and library services are closing, street lighting is being turned off, and parks, gardens and flowerbeds are no longer being tended.

Central cuts are also forcing the closure or reduction of mental health services, care homes, accident and emergency departments and brain injury rehabilitation units, Unison said.

Among the results, Unison found services including play and youth services, libraries, leisure centres and respite care for children and adults with disabilities in Newcastle are to be hit by £90m regional funding cuts.

Emphasising the wide reaching impact of funding reductions, Unison said sites such as Sure Start centres, young people’s outreach clubs and day centres for the elderly are facing closure. Homeless charities and women’s shelters are also being threatened by funding cuts.

Unison said two welfare charity centres for children from broken families in Croydon are being closed at the end of this month due to funding cuts, while homeless charities in Oxford are being hit with a £1m central government funding cut in 2014.

Unison general secretary, Dave Prentis, said: ‘Nothing is safe from the Chancellor’s axe. Communities are losing a staggering range of services, charges are increasing and vulnerable people are not getting the support they need. Hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs are being lost when sacking workers is the last thing our economy needs to get back on its feet.

‘We are urging the Government to listen to the overwhelming evidence that cuts are not working, and to spare a thought for those who have lost their jobs or the local services they used to rely on. Investment in jobs is what we need to fuel growth. Cuts have got us nowhere.’

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