15 February 2013
Yesterday’s SNP budget disproportionately impacts on women’s lives with their cuts in clerical jobs , cuts to not-for-profit agencies who deliver social work contracts and cuts to housing support service providers .
These are largely jobs that are filled by women - carers, housing support officers and voluntary sector workers.
The recipients of social care, a larger proportion of the service users are older women.
And daughters and sisters are more likely to be left filling the gap to care for older relatives as these contracts are cut.
Therefore, I was very surprised that the assessment of these cuts from an equality and diversity perspective either suggests that no particular groups are affected, or the impact is unknown.
I suggest the SNP Administration is aware of the impact but does not care because these jobs are not their priority.
The debate at the rent setting meeting last month highlights this.
The Labour Group proposed the creation of new housing officer posts to increase capacity to do house visits to support tenants to sustain their tenancy and reduce damage to properties as a part of a proactive spend to save strategy.
We had evidence of over 50 properties that had over £5,000 of repairs in the last year. One new build property had major repairs after one year after being let; these repairs included the replacement of mirrored wardrobe doors and serious damage to multiple walls.
We wanted these new housing officers to target high and medium risk new tenants and the aim was to reduce re-let and daily repairs due to vandalism. This saving would slightly reduce the rent increase.
We were surprised when the Administration suggested we could not implement this reduction as they claimed that it might affect the budget of the Environment Department.
Thus, I can only conclude that they are overlooking this vandalism of Council housing.
When it comes to clerical jobs, social care contracts and housing support contracts (such as Women’s Aid), then the SNP Administration thinks this is acceptable to disproportionately hit women with their cuts.
Well, I do not.