Unison to lobby county councillors before meeting tomorrow

Union members are set to stage a lobby ahead of a decision on Lancashire County Council’s budget.

Wednesday, 19th February 2014, 7:32 am
Lobby: Lancashire County Hall

The authority needs to save about £300m from its annual budget by 2017/18, due to cuts in government funding.

But Unison members plan to call on councillors to “keep Lancashire working” before the proposals are set to be approved at a meeting tomorrow.

The union launched the “Keep Lancashire Working” campaign to bring together service users and the staff who deliver them.

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Lancashire Unison is organising a lunchtime lobby of County Hall, before councillors are due to set the budget at the full council meeting.

Pat Grant, regional organiser for Unison north west, said: “We’re asking everyone to help us keep Lancashire working. This isn’t just a campaign about jobs. It’s about the services relied on by the most vulnerable members of our community. The government’s cuts are unfair and are hitting Lancashire hard.

“We want to work with the council to make the case for more funding for Lancashire. The council must not rush into irreversible cuts. The county has already seen huge cuts in funding and we need a pause to allow structural adjustments to be made in a planned way.

“We need proper consultation with the unions and the public to minimise the damage done to Lancashire by these reckless government cuts.”

County Coun David Borrow, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “Central government is severely cutting our funding to the extent that we have to reduce county council expenditure by £300m in the next four years.

“This means that the council will be significantly smaller and will look very different. The cuts we are dealing with are so severe that we have to look at radical solutions. We can only achieve these changes through the efforts of our staff. We are working very hard with our staff, and with the unions, to ensure that we can continue to provide vital services for the people of Lancashire, particularly the most vulnerable, whilst doing all we can to protect the terms and conditions of our staff. We have also been listening to the public and have focused on protecting front-line services while becoming more efficient and improving our back office processes.”

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