As you will be aware the current cost of living crisis is affecting all organisations, and Local Government is not immune from that pain. The lasting effects of Covid, alongside other global and national events, have led to inflation levels not seen since the early 1980s. This has also not been helped by the year in year out real term cuts to Local Government budgets passed on by the Scottish Government.
Stirling Council is now looking at a budget gap of £17m for 2023-24. Stirling Council held their budget meeting yesterday in the Council Chambers, Old Viewforth, Stirling and by Microsoft Teams on Thursday 2 March 2023 at 10.00 am. The link to the papers put to council today is below. It is important to point out that the administration’s budget proposals were approved.
Access the Stirling council Agendas here
It was evident and regretful that savings of this scale won’t be possible without cuts to services and a likely reduction in the number of staff working for the Council over the next 12-18 months. Please be assured that we currently have a No Compulsory Redundancy commitment and the focus is on anyone leaving the Council doing so voluntarily, and we will work closely with management throughout the process, in line with our existing Organisational Change Policy. Please be assured UNISON does not support job losses, however, given the budget gap it was inevitable that savings had to be made. We have concerns for those staff who will be working to deliver services where the workforce is reduced and for some this may mean a cut in hours/pay. Please be assured we will work closely with the employer to ensure that the appropriate processes are followed should staffing resources be reduced within your service. Unfortunately, we have had little detail, particularly where proposals relate to redesign, restructure and review. We have been assured that Trade Unions will be fully consulted on all the agreed proposals, however, it was difficult for us to take a view on the proposals when we have no further information.
Should you be concerned about any of the accepted budget proposals please do not hesitate to contact your UNISON steward or the UNISON Stirling Branch directly. You can also go to the UNISON Scotland website to see how you can join and help with our Local Government Finance Campaign where we continue to lobby the Scottish Government on the unfair budget settlements they continue to pass onto Local Authorities.
We know how unsettling all of this will be, and we’ll keep you informed and involved at every stage.