Concerns Over Council Changes

Members of Unison - the union for public service workers - have been meeting today to discuss Suffolk County Council's announcement about plans to hand over some services to businesses and the voluntary sector to save money in something called the New Strategic Direction.

They claim that by doing this it will do more damage than good to Suffolk's economy and lead to job losses.

They have now published a report which has been put together by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), who are a completely independent body, showing concerns that the private sector and voluntary sector would not be able to cope with the extra demand and this in turn would have an impact on the quality of services.

Lynn Green who works for Suffolk's libraries told Heart she is concerned the changes will lead to poorer services, "The lower paid staff don't go into public service for the money. We do the job because we care about the service we're providing. It worries me that this kind of commitment is just being disregarded, especially if it's divested to the private sector. You can't possibly have that kind of commitment."

She also added there are worries about redundancies, "The chances of getting another job in this economy - that's got to be a concern. We all have mortgages to pay and bills to pay, but there is a wider implication. How can it possibly be right that you are putting all these people on the dole? That must affect the economy of Suffolk."

In response, Councillor Jeremy Pembroke, Leader from Suffolk County Council said:

"I welcome Unison's views.  We will continue to engage with as many people as possible from across Suffolk throughout the development of the NSD (New Strategic Direction) and during implementation. All of the views we receive will be carefully considered and will help inform decisions made over the coming months and years.

I believe we have a moral duty to protect services for the people of Suffolk especially the most vulnerable in our community.

I will be doing everything I can to ensure that happens."

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