Budget’s low-paid victims

What a sorry future the Borders population face when we read in the local media the way our elected representatives appear to behave on our 
behalf.

We have an SNP budget proposal which will target the lowest paid workers employed by the Scottish Borders Council (SBC) in cutting wages of those who are starting new jobs, mainly the young and female employees.

The opposition, who are the Tories, then submit their contrary budget proposals which are to get rid of a number of the workers by compulsory redundancy in an effort to balance the books. The SBC elected members are shocking in their assumptions that the workforce are causing these problems and should therefore be attacked from all quarters.

The Tory spokeswoman is credited with stating that the lion’s share of pressure on the budget is staffing costs and implies that by getting rid of staff she is able to protect front line services.

Any sane person will understand that this idea is a crock as there cannot be a service without trained, skilled and conscientious staff.

Who delivers the front line services on education from teachers, classroom and playground assistants, janitors, cleaners and dining room staff? The answer, of course, is staff.

Who looks after the old, the vulnerable and those in most need of social work services? Once again the staff.

Who carries out the physical repairs one the potholes a councillor is complaining about that seem to be costing the council approx £1million in damage claims? Surprise, surprise, the staff.

The work carried out by this workforce is not an assembly line which can be taken on by robots and new mechanisation methods.

Where do the Tories say they want to continue spending money as a priority while cutting the jobs mentioned above? On a warden service that does not appear to be working as there is no real support mechanism to help those workers trying to make the most of a limited role.

Any SBC employee who voted Tory or SNP in the last elections will now be realising their vote has been to allow their elected official to have the power to attack them in public and reduce their terms and condition in a risky move that had a history of equal pay claims resulting in over £4 million being paid out.

Any member of the public who voted for other candidates that were elected should remember this budget will be set by a decision by all councillors. Watch for their vote.

Rab Stewart

Roberts Avenue, Selkirk