Survey Shows Women Are Increasingly Affected by Government Spending Cuts

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25th June 2014 16:11 - Local Government

Women are becoming increasingly affected by local council spending cuts, according to a study conducted by UNISON.

Since the coalition government formed there has been an £11.3billion reduction in grants to councils between 2010/11 to 2015/16.

The report says women are being progressively affected by lower pay, increasingly heavy workloads and the constant threat of further redundancies. Cuts to local services have also resulted in less help for women, forcing them to go without support they might require.

The study was conducted with 7,554 women across the UK, the majority of whom are UNISON members working in the local government sector.

Of the women surveyed, 60% thought local services had got worse in the last year, with over 60% believing local leisure centres, park facilities and open spaces had deteriorated too, resulting in many fearing for their or their family’s safety when using them.

Over the last three years, £82million has been cut from children’s centre budgets, resulting in 285 closures/merges since 2010.

In 2010, there were 2,885 council-funded community centres in the UK; this figure now sits at 2,726 – a reduction of 159 centres in four years. Leisure centres suffered the same fate with a 13% depletion to their budget.

As a result of these cuts:
 

  • Over one third of the women questioned feel more cut off from their community.
  • 28% feel more cut off from finding a job.
  • More than one in 10 (12%) feel more cut off from their families.
  • One half use local services less or have stopped using them completely because of their rising costs, reduced opening hours and poor facilities.

As part of the whole ‘cutting costs’ initiative, one million street lights are now either switched off or dimmed for a set period of time overnight across Great Britain.

Over five sixths (85%) of women said this affects how safe they feel when travelling at night, with seven in 10 (70%) saying it affects how often they would travel at night.

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