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Date Fri 15 July 2011

UNISON calls on Glasgow City Council to halt attacks on people with learning disabilities

UNISON, Scotland’s largest union in public services, has joined together with communities across Glasgow to fight against service cuts.

Trade unionists and members of the public packed out a meeting last week to share concerns over personalisation and fears that Glasgow City Council is using this process simply as a means to save money.

Glasgow City Council started its personalisation agenda last summer. While UNISON supports the principles of personalisation, which are about providing people with more independence, control and dignity, this is not what is happening in Glasgow. The council has always been explicit in its ambition to realise 20 per cent savings as a result of the process.

Mandy McDowall, regional organiser for UNISON, said: “We’re not against the concept of personalisation, but direct payments should be used to complement a range of public services and should not be used as a disguise for cutting services.

“We held this meeting to bring together those who are being directly affected by these cuts. The meeting was packed with staff, users and members of the community who all wanted to share their experiences. We heard from carers who are having their packages cut by 50 per cent; staff who are having their terms and conditions slashed and communities who are suffering facility closures.

“Each person had a different story to tell and the true human cost of each and every cut was laid bare.”

Parents, carers, service users, campaign groups, academics and disability groups were all in attendance at Thursday’s meeting. UNISON says the meeting will be the first of many and is calling on Glasgow City Council to put a halt to service cuts.

Simon Macfarlane, regional organiser for UNISON, added: “Glasgow City Council has not properly assessed the impact of these cuts and is rolling ahead with scant regard to the devastating consequences.

“We’re calling on the council to call a halt to this process and to reinstate the packages that service users had before the new personalisation agenda was agreed, until a thorough review of the process and the impact on people with learning disabilities is assessed. This assessment must involve service users, their families and front line workers and their unions.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. For further information please contact Mandy McDowall on 07903 846 427 or Simon Macfarlane on 07703 194 132. Alternatively, visit our website at www.unison-scotland.org.uk

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