Coalition’s cuts draw a dividing line across Britain

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis on why we are not all in this together, on how the Nick Clegg/David Cameron cuts are hitting the poorest hardest.

Dave Prentis is the General Secretary of UNISON, Britain’s biggest public sector trade union with more than 1.3 million members

Another week, another example of the coalition’s cuts hitting the poorest hardest, drawing dividing lines across the map of Britain. In December, when Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, announced the scale of cuts set to hit councils, the picture looked bleak enough. The biggest budget cuts in living memory – up to 10 per cent next financial year – spell real danger for vital local services, for jobs and for economic recovery.

But careful analysis by UNISON of two streams of council funding shows the picture to be grimmer still. Low-income communities are facing a double whammy of cuts to two grants, whilst richer councils will be protected by a multi-million pound boost to one stream of funding, which will partly offset cuts to the other.

A closer look at four councils across the country – Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Liverpool and Sheffield – illustrates the point. Surrey County Council’s formula grant will be cut by £25.5 million, but its specific grant will get a £12.3m boost. Similarly, the £11.1m cut to Buckinghamshire County Council’s formula grant will be offset by a £4.6m increase to its specific grant.

Meanwhile, Liverpool City Council will lose £43.3m from its formula grant as well as £36.9m from its specific grant. Sheffield City Council will be hit with a £37.3m cut to its formula grant and another £19.1m from its specific grant.

How can the government justify such unfairness? True blue Tory councils such as Surrey and Buckinghamshire need no such leg up in life. Both are areas where median weekly earnings bust the national average by more than £100.

On top of that, they enjoy unemployment rates that are well below the national average of 3.5%; only 1.7% of people in Surrey County Council claim Jobseeker’s Allowance and 1.8% in Bucks. A UNISON survey out late last year looked at the number of unemployed people chasing every advertised job; both have well under the national average of 4.6%, with 2.4% and 2.9% respectively.

Meanwhile, families in Liverpool and Sheffield need all the help they can get. Both councils are in deprived areas, heavily dependent on the public sector. Sheffield is still dealing with the legacy of Thatcher’s pit closures and the end of steel production. Higher than average number of JSA claimants blight both city councils – 9.5% and 4.0% respectively, as do lower than average weekly earnings – £475 a week in Liverpool and £476 a week in Sheffield. More misery is piled on by a higher than average ratio of unemployed people per vacant job, with 9.6 people chasing every advertised job in Liverpool and 5.7 in Sheffield.

This nails the lie that we are all in this together. The truth is that this is a government for the wealthy, by the wealthy, with the coalition’s Tory leaders determined to wage their ideologically-driven war on the public sector, regardless of the consequences.

UNISON will continue to campaign for an alternative economic agenda, based on fair taxation, that promotes economic recovery. We believe the majority of British people want to see fairness back at the heart of our society.

25 Responses to “Coalition’s cuts draw a dividing line across Britain”

  1. UNISON Cymru/Wales

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain: //bit.ly/dXzARH writes @Unisontweets gen sec Dave Prentis

  2. David Whewell

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain: //bit.ly/dXzARH writes @Unisontweets gen sec Dave Prentis

  3. tomm

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain: //bit.ly/dXzARH writes @Unisontweets gen sec Dave Prentis

  4. DisabledPeople

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain: //bit.ly/dXzARH writes @Unisontweets gen sec Dave Prentis

  5. Martin McIvor

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain //bit.ly/eC6JgM

  6. UNISON - the union

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain: //bit.ly/dXzARH writes @Unisontweets gen sec Dave Prentis

  7. Bernard and Paul

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain //bit.ly/eC6JgM – Dave Prentis of Unison in with the analysis.

  8. Stephen W

    All this comes across is that the UNISON union hates people from Surrey and Buckinghamshire.

    And please do tell us? How much more government money is spent per person in Sheffield and Liverpool already?

    Mr Prentis may look upon the country through a thick mist of class prejudice and stereotyping, but there is genuine need and deprivation even in Surrey and Buckinghamshire. And since these councils get so much less money anyway I fail to see why they should have their meagre resources massively slashed even further.

  9. SlashedUK

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain: //bit.ly/dXzARH writes @Unisontweets gen sec Dave Prentis

  10. Crimson Crip

    RT @SlashedUK: RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain: //bit.ly/dXzARH writes @Unisontweets gen sec …

  11. subaruoflondon

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain: //bit.ly/dXzARH writes @Unisontweets gen sec Dave Prentis

  12. Haps Hash

    The smug bullingdon boys + 'should cut down on his pork life' pickles, continue to hammer the poor:
    //bit.ly/dXzARH

  13. Jehane

    RT @leftfootfwd Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain: //bit.ly/dXzARH writes @Unisontweets gen sec Dave Prentis

  14. Anon E Mouse

    You say “We believe the majority of British people want to see fairness back at the heart of our society”

    They do Dave. That’s why Labour is no longer in power.

    Gordon Brown took the 10p tax rate off the poorest in society and Nick Clegg is freeing people from tax on their first £10K earnings…

  15. Rocky Hamster

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain: //bit.ly/dXzARH writes @Unisontweets gen sec Dave Prentis

  16. Daniel Pitt

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain: //bit.ly/dXzARH writes @Unisontweets gen sec Dave Prentis

  17. Heather Tweddell

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain //bit.ly/eC6JgM

  18. UNISON East Midlands

    Coalition’s cuts draw a dividing line across Britain //is.gd/kzeWC

  19. L DTUC

    RT @UNISONEastMids: Coalition’s cuts draw a dividing line across Britain //is.gd/kzeWC

  20. Mike Thomas

    Fair according to you.

    Must be tough getting by on £100,000+ Dave.

    Why should the residents of Buckinghamshire and Surrey finances decisions made in Sheffield.

    It’s been over 25 years since the pits and steel plants closed (thanks in no small part due to uncompetitive, expensive unionised workforce).

    Parts of Buckinghamshire were decimated by the loss of the furniture industry but you won’t here them providing a litany of pathetic excuses as to why they need more money from Wandsworth.

  21. JoshC

    “Why should the residents of Buckinghamshire and Surrey finances decisions made in Sheffield.”

    Odd thing to say considering the finances of Sheffield and Liverpool are now being made by Buckinghamshire.

    The Indices Of Multiple Deprivation by the ONS shows that pretty much every neighbourhood in Sheffield and Liverpool is more deprived than Buckinghamshire or Surrey. A decent society doesn’t target those deprived areas for the lions share of the cuts, particularly in the bad times. If an area is deprived then it should be helped regardless of where it is or who it’s population tends to vote for.

    We don’t live in a decent society anymore though. We’ve returned to the selfish greed of the 80s with frightening speed.

  22. Mike Thomas

    Josh,

    I’ll give you an example, Sunderland Council has EIGHT European officers, why? They spend £4m a year on publicity.

    Yet they choose to cut Early Years learning and social care budgets.

    That is sheer spite and political motivated.

    If the good citizens of Sheffield and Liverpool want higher spending on their services – they should pay for it. Or hold their councils accountable.

    That’s the problem with socialism – promises more than it can deliver and seek to deflect the blame when it can’t onto anyone or anything else but socialism when it can’t.

    A decent society is one that is responsible and understands its elected officials are accountable to its people and they act in the best interests of its community.

    Sheffield and Liverpool councils are not being responsible because they cannot fund their services through their community. It is that simple. You cut your cloth accordingly in life.

  23. Eleanor Besley

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain //bit.ly/eC6JgM

  24. Ed

    “Sheffield is still dealing with… the end of steel production”

    What utter utter rubbish…!!!

    Steel production has anything but ended in Sheffield

  25. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition's cuts draw a dividing line across Britain //bit.ly/eC6JgM

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