Last Monday Dundee City Council were expected to be the first Scottish council to decide how the latest round of cuts would impact on their spending. Instead councillors from all parties decided to make another call on the Scottish Government for more money. SUWN activists took part in the demonstration called by Dundee Against Cuts outside the council chamber, alongside public sector trade unionists. No-one is under any illusions that the source of all the cuts and ‘austerity’ is the Tory government in Westminster, but, besides protesting this, the Scottish Government does have some limited powers to mitigate the worst impacts. In reiterating the argument that the Scottish budget needs to go further in using progressive taxation to raise the money needed to keep public services and help the least well off, we stressed the importance of all campaigners working together so that funding for one issue is not used as an excuse for not funding something else. Money has to be found for council services and public sector workers and for welfare; for welfare and for council budgets.
The problem is that both the SNP and Labour have not fully recovered from the neoliberal disease. They are afraid to call for more substantial progressive changes and risk being called out as irresponsible by a largely neoliberal media. And although the Greens are in a strong bargaining position, as the SNP may need their votes, more money for welfare doesn’t seem to have been stated as a Green red-line. This is especially disappointing as the Greens have themselves raised most of the issues that we made in our own pre-budget petition – and we have written to their Social Security spokesperson to ask what they are doing to ensure that the Scottish Government doesn’t fail the poor and disabled.
The picture is from the Evening Telegraph