TRADE unions representing Moray Council workers have slammed plans announced by the local authority this week to make £6.7 million of cuts next year.
In a statement released today, the joint statement representing all unions described the plans as "short-sighted" and also doubted whether the plans would allow the council to fulfil its statutory requirements.
The statement reads: "The joint trade unions are disappointed by the proposals approved by Moray Council at its Committee meeting on 4th December 2017 which recommend cuts to service provision and jobs.
"The proposals put forward outline a programme of cuts to services across a swathe of council provision yet do not appear to offer any significant proposals for advancing and ensuring the future financial viability of the council – a situation which is deeply concerning for all council employees and residents of Moray.
"Whilst the trade unions acknowledge that the financial situation of the council is extremely difficult at present, cuts to jobs and services will not address that, indeed it will simply increase the pressure on the remaining services and staff as well as on other agencies.
"Investment in public services, and the staff employed in the sector, is the best way of ensuring that the services we all use are delivered appropriately, efficiently, and to a high standard as well as providing economic benefits to the local area."
"The proposals put forward are short-sighted, lack coherence and worryingly, leave grave concerns about how the Council is to fulfil its statutory requirements in some service areas – Additional Support Needs for Children being only one example. They come from a ruling administration with an absence of vision.
"The process raises questions about how meaningful a consultation exercise this is – a consultation implies choices to be made whereas what is presented appears to be a statement of where £7m of cuts will fall.
"Whilst on paper, the cuts may bring the financial savings the administration wish to see in 2018-19, they will undoubtedly, in many cases, prove more costly to the council, as the withdrawal of preventative services results in people accessing higher level, and more costly services, at a later stage. The proposals also do not provide any resolution to the council’s future funding pressures.
"As unions, we have been speaking to our members and know from them that there are many positive ideas that the council could take forward to increase revenue.
"However, these require the council to be proactive and forward-thinking rather than the narrow approach they currently seem to have which is to keep cutting in the short-term, without consideration of how they will ensure the financial viability in the longer-term and ultimately the security of our members jobs."