Monday, 9 November 2009

COUNCILS MUST USE RESERVES TO KEEP JOBS

Kent Green Party is calling for local councils to make use of their reserves in an effort to maintain their staffing levels. Stuart Jeffery, Campaigns Officer, comments:

“Local council services have suffered cuts in real terms since the 1970s. The expansion of quangos, which have four times as much money as local government in England and Wales, has not helped – denying councils money and functions which should be at local level.

“It may be tempting to some local councils to be seen as cutting or keeping down council tax. They may even do so with the next General Election in mind. But low council tax increases and a failure to make use of council reserves will add to unemployment in Kent. We have too few council officers trying to cover a wide range of basic services already – from housing and waste collection, to services for the elderly.

“Local councils must not make the recession worse in their area of coverage by cutting council employment. Unemployment across Kent has risen by a staggering 82% in the past year alone, and in some districts has more than doubled.
“It is simply unacceptable for councils to add to the misery of the recession by increasing unemployment further. If councils need to make some savings perhaps they could look at reducing the salaries of the highest paid, rather than cutting jobs.”

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FURTHER INFORMATION: Stuart Jeffery – Campaigns Officer, Kent Green Party, on 0797 0436 029. Contact address as above

Notes:
• Kent & Medway claimant count: Oct 08 = 19,193; Oct 09 = 35,023.
• Ashford, Dartford, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge & Malling and Tunbridge Wells have all seen unemployment more than double in the past 12 months with Tunbridge Wells seeing the biggest rise of 128%.
• Data from http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=15

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