Unite calls for Edinburgh council debt amnesty as cuts crisis grows

Local government workers across Edinburgh will demonstrate at the city chambers tomorrow morning (Thursday 29 October) against proposals for 2,000 compulsory redundancies by May 2016.

The cuts are being pushed through as the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) seeks to make savings of £141 million over the next four years while grappling with a total debt estimated by Unite to be as much as £1.6 billion.

Unite has tabled a number of alternative financing proposals to alleviate budget constraints including a collaborative effort to pursue a debt amnesty on all pre-Scotland Act loans from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB), which could free-up £32 million a year in the council budget.

Unite Deputy Scottish Secretary Mary Alexander said

Mass compulsory redundancies are not in the interests of anyone – not the workers, not the public and not the council itself.

We know CEC has significant debts but we are not looking at recriminations, we are looking for solutions to the problem.

We need to explore how we can loosen the budget constraints but this requires a political will from the city’s elected representatives and council officials to work collaboratively with the joint trade unions.

Through our alternative financing proposals we believe there is a better way and our message is clear: Let’s work together to secure jobs and services under public control in Edinburgh for the next generation.