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UNISON, Public Services Champions, If we don’t do something for them, there will be no one left to do anything for us.

UNISON, one of the UK’s largest trade unions, with more than 1.3 million members, represents full-time and part-time staff who provide public services, whether employed in the public or the private sectors.

UNISON’s Public Service Champions campaign was established in response to growing concerns about the impact of spending cuts on public services in the UK.

From the NHS to schools, from community policing to local council services, such as libraries, youth services and social care, practically every UNISON member has a story to tell about the growing difficulties they face to keep services going.

Put simply, nearly a decade of cuts is taking its toll.

The NHS is going through the biggest financial squeeze in its history, with spending per head of population set to fall in 2018/19 and waiting times getting longer;

There are 24,000 fewer nurses and 3,500 fewer midwives than are needed;

The number of adults who say they do not get the care they need has increased by nearly 50 per cent since 2010;

More than 600 youth centres have closed since 2012, taking away the help and support provided to some of the most vulnerable young people in our communities;

Police funding was cut by 20 per cent between 2010 and 2015, but neighbourhood policing was cut even more, with 30 per cent of police community support officers cut;

More than 400 libraries have closed since 2010, depriving communities of access to books, courses and computer facilities; and

Schools are facing a real-terms cut of £3 billion, which will result in spending per pupil falling by an average of 8 per cent by 2019/20.

And according to the ONS Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey between the second quarter 2010 and the second quarter 2016:

23,700 fewer people are employed by councils in Wales – 17,600 permanent jobs have gone as well as 6,100 temporary/casual jobs;

6,900 fewer men and 9,200 fewer women are employed full time; and

2,000 fewer men and 5,400 fewer women are employed part-time.

The Public Service Champions campaign seeks to highlight the impact of these challenges and win support for:

Proper funding for all our public services – from the NHS to social care, from libraries to youth work, from education to policing – so that they can meet rising demand and the diverse needs of all our communities.

The right number of appropriately trained staff to keep our services safe and effective – so that the quality of care and standards of service that the public deserve can be guaranteed.

A voice for local communities about how their public services are provided – so that all services, including specialist services, are responsive to local needs.

The economic benefits of public services are recognised – so that investment, jobs and decent pay can boost local economies and create opportunities.

More openness – so that decisions about who provides local services – and how they do it – are clear and can be properly scrutinised.

Over the past four years, £1.5billion has been taken out of Northern Ireland through cuts in education, health, housing and transport provision to the people.

This means lost jobs in both private and public sectors and the loss of career opportunities for school leavers.

The Northern Ireland Committee Irish Congress of Trade Unions has produced a special newspaper to inform the reader of the damage the cuts have inflicted and will continue to inflict on Northern Ireland, its people and its economy.

The ‘People’s Voice’ first published as a newspaper is now available online and is available to download here.

For UNISON Scotland’s report about the damage done to Scotland’s public services, click here.

For UNISON Wales‘s report on austerity in Wales, click here.

Launched in the autumn, the Public Services Champion campaign celebrates everyone who works in public services.

A UK-wide advertising campaign is running showing the two sides of public services in our communities.

On one side are the stories of the general public, who value the jobs that UNISON members do and the services that they provide.

On the other side are the testimonies of UNISON members – a paramedic, a teaching assistant, a youth worker, a library assistant, a homecare worker and a police community support officer – who are committed to doing their jobs to the highest possible standard, but find this increasingly difficult and stressful after nearly ten years of cuts.

On 4 May 2017 there are local and county council elections across much of the UK. And for the first time a number of cities and regions will also be electing mayors. Then on 8 June there will be a general election.

The elections are an opportunity for you to vote for the candidate who will defend public services. Be a Public Service Champion. Vote.

Click here to find out everything you need to know about voting in the UK.

Because of spending cuts, our public services are in crisis. So, if your healthcare, education and safety matter to you, it’s time to do something about it. Tweet, share, vote, petition, say thanks – but whatever you do, do it now.

#backyourchampions

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