Council workers £3,500 a year worse off after a decade of austerity

Research by the Scottish Parliament has found that the average council worker is £3,500 worse because of the SNP cuts to local government.

The findings, commissioned by Scottish Labour, found that if pay had kept up with inflation, the average council worker would have got £31,978 a year - £3,500 more than the £28,533 they earn today. This is because median pay has risen at half the rate of inflation - which means a real terms pay cut of over 10%.

When combined with the thousands of jobs lost in local government, these figures present a bleak picture for workers.

According to the Fraser of Allander Institute, GDP growth per head across Scotland has struggled to keep pace with growing living costs, and since 2015 has actually fallen by 0.1%. Over the same period, UK GDP per head grew by nearly 3%.

But public sector pay is one area where the government can make an immediate difference if they possessed the political will to do so. That’s why the teaching unions - led by EIS - are demanding a pay rise of 10% to make up for a lost decade. Council workers should too.

Responding to the research, Scottish Labour’s Communities Spokesperson Monica Lennon MSP said:

“Almost 30,000 council jobs have been axed as a result of SNP budget cuts, heaping more work on remaining staff, so it’s a scandal that a typical council worker is now nearly £3,500 worse off.  Scottish Labour prioritised local government in our alternative budget because communities rely on strong local services.

"The employees delivering these vital services deserve a fair wage.

“Instead, the SNP has squeezed local councils with no extra funding to lift workers’ pay. 

"Scottish Labour is the only party that argued for additional money for local government to deliver a funded pay rise. After a decade of government, the SNP is out of touch and it is Scottish Labour that is standing up for local communities and fighting for real change.”

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