UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Friday, 5 October 2012

You can’t tackle poverty in Wales without a living wage

The Jury is still out on Gordon Brown but during his tenure as Chancellor poverty amongst those families without work in Wales began to fall to similar levels to those in working but low income households. Top up benefits will never be the answer to all ills but they provided a necessary band-aid on child poverty issues amongst workless families: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-19828167
Now we see the starkest of cuts in Welsh Local Government with a new WLGA report that warns of continuing decline in funding possibly until 2021.

The role of local councils in helping those struggling with mortgages and potential homelessness, the role of local councils in helping those families in poverty and in tackling housing, debt and social care issues has never been more greatly needed; and yet just at the point of the most severe pressure on services we see gratuitously deep and savage cuts meted out to Welsh Councils. By default these cuts will harm Welsh communities, Welsh workers and our comrades who in many areas are still suffering from Thatcher’s legacy of unemployment.

So far the Welsh Government has marginally exercised some divergence from national policy in not ring-fencing NHS spending; they can now go much further in that divergence. UNISON's Dominic Macaskill has rightly called for a Living Wage for all of Welsh local government and it will send a timely message to Westminster that in some parts of the UK the workers are still valued and their input into local economic resilience is both recognised and acted upon. It will be for Welsh Labour and the WLGA to prove its worth.