25 representative from local Trade Unions, Brunel University and the Socialist Party gathered in the civic centre on Wednesday the 16th, to discuss the cuts to public services being carried out by Hillingdon Council, share experiences and ideas, and build support for the March for the Alternative on the 26th.
Unite, Unison, the RMT and GMB were represented, with apologies from the local FBU, CWU and PCS representatives. The Union of Brunel Students was also represented by their president and Campaigns Officer Candidate.
Stuart Roderick, Branch Secretary for Unison in Hillingdon, explained how the cuts are affecting services that the Council provides. Out of a staff of 100 carers for elderly and disabled people in the borough, 20 face the sack. Out of 50 council workers who deal with benefits claims, 15 face the sack. Every team on the council, who work to provide services for local residents, is facing cuts in staffing and funding of around 20%.
The Unite Branch Secretary, also representing council workers, explained how council staff are already seriously over worked, and barely able to cope with the staffing levels they have now. If these staff are cut, it will have a severe impact on the ability of the council to deliver the services that Hillingdon residents pay for. By cutting these staff, it will become harder and harder for residents to claim the benefits and support they are entitled to, be it Housing Benefit, Disability Living Allowance, Council Tax Benefit, assistance for the elderly and disabled etc.
The council’s contempt and lack of care for young people was highlighted by workers from the Connexions service. Connexions works with young people across the borough to provide support and assistance in finding housing, employment and training. It also works with the Youth Offending Team to keep young people out of trouble and organise youth clubs and activities in the borough. They are facing a 45-50% cut in funding.
This will result in 40 Connexions staff being made redundant, the office at the civic centre closing, and a vital line of support for young people being severely weakened.
Hillingdon Council is trying to keep these cuts secret, but the attack on Education & Children’s Service can been seen in the recently published budget here: Hillingdon Council Budget , in appendix 7c.
The council intends to cut £5.7 million from the Education & Children’s Service budget. This will include:
- Cutting £370 000 from the Connexions budget, as mentioned above
- Decommissioning the Music Service, to save £737 000
- Decommissioning the Family Intervention Project, to save £104 000
- Deleting the Head of Safegaurding, to save £49 000
- Removing two posts in Education and Welfare, to save £72 000
This £5.7 million cut is just for this year. By 2015, the Council is hoping to ‘Save’ over £12 million from Education & Children’s Service.
These are not savings at all. This is the start of the destruction of a vital service provided to young people by the council.
Does not go into the attacks faced by other sections of the Hillingdon Community, but be aware that the council and the ConDem government are coming after you too!
These attacks are going on all across the country, in every Borough, every County and every town and city. That is why is it vital that as many people as possible are on the streets of London this Saturday (26th of March), for the Trades Union Congress sponsored ‘March for the Alternative’.
Over 500 000 Trade Unionists, Young People, Students, Elderly and Disabled People, Service Users and Public Sector workers, people from every part of Britain who are disgusted and angry with the savage Cuts being forced on the British people by the ConDem collation, will be marching through London.
We will be demanding an end to cuts and privatisation, demanding that the bankers pay for their own crisis, and demanding decent public services, healthcare and education for all!