William Eichler 12 October 2022

Scottish council chiefs warn care reforms could cost 75,000 jobs

Scottish council chiefs warn care reforms could cost 75,000 jobs  image
Image: Fotokon / Shutterstock.com.

Local authority leaders and unions in Scotland today joined forces to oppose Holyrood’s plans to centralise the delivery of care, which they argue could cost 75,000 jobs.

Following an independent review into adult social care, the Scottish government decided to establish a National Care Service, which would see social care responsibilities move from local authorities to Scottish ministers by 2026.

The draft National Care Service legislation, currently before Parliament, would see a large proportion of local authority staff, functions and assets transferred to a national structure overseen by ministers, which would set standards and commissioning priorities for delivery by local care boards.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and local government trade unions Unison and Unite argue that the Bill would have a serious impact on the future of local democracy and the viability of local government in Scotland because the legislation would empower ministers to create and direct unaccountable local care boards to deliver services.

They also warned that the plans have left council staff uncertain over their future employer, their terms and conditions and their pay.

Cllr Paul Kelly, COSLA health and social care spokesperson, said: ‘Instead of investing to improve care services now, the Scottish Government are choosing to prioritise unnecessary expensive structural reform which will disrupt services, staff and our communities who rely on support.

‘Local government staff across social care, social work and community health have gone above and beyond to support local people over the past few years and are now faced with the added uncertainty that comes with these Scottish government proposals. COSLA will continue to work with our trade union partners to support our staff across local authorities and stand committed to making improvements to services now.’

Tracey Dalling, UNISON Scotland Regional Secretary, said: ‘The National Care Service plans leave tens of thousands of staff, not just in local government but across many public services, uncertain about the future of their jobs and their pensions.

‘What is certain though, is that if the Scottish government passes its legislation councils will be hugely reduced, both as democratic institutions and as employers. The outsourcing of jobs to the national care service, will be followed by jobs going in areas like IT, finance, facilities management and others.’

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