Monday, 20 June 2011

Cuts hit rural areas particularly hard

#uNDC11 The particular difficulties facing rural communities because of cuts to funding for local authority services was highlighted by South West Region and backed up by Highland's Liz Mackay.

Delegates heard how cuts to public services disproportionately affect low paid members and vulnerable people in rural communities, exacerbated by existing problems of poor transport, isolation and limited facilities.

Liz Mackay, from Highland Region described the difficulties faced by her members in a vast rural area in the North of Scotland, and the impact of a loss of services on communities.

“Many of the Highland Branch members work and live in rural areas. Cuts and changes are affecting this group greatly”, she said.

“People made redundant have few opportunities to get other jobs which is not helped with few transport links. She pointed to changes in home carers’ working patterns, bringing an earlier start time, making it difficult for some to access childcare at 6.30 in the morning. “

This group of staff are predominantly women”, Liz told delegates.

“Another example is that Highland Council proposed to sack all classroom assistants. It was only after a sustained campaign working with parent councils, children and parents that councillors pulled back”.

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