General Election 2017: It’s time to fight for public services

Despite repeated promises that there would be no general election before 2020, Theresa May did another massive u-turn this week and announced that the country will be going to the polls on June 8. She blamed other political parties for her decision because they had the audacity to challenge her on ‘hard Brexit’, which we know will only benefit the wealthy and do nothing for ordinary working people.

At a time of unprecedented national and international uncertainty, the Tories have thrown the country into a snap general election – but that gives us an opportunity to have our say about the future of our country. As a campaigning union, UNISON has always made the case for, and will continue to fight for quality public services, delivered by valued public sector staff. Our current campaign on Public Service Champions embodies just that and we all have an opportunity to play our part in the campaign.

But as Britain prepares to leave the EU, this election needs to be about the future of our public services and the austerity agenda that the Tory Party has unleashed upon those services for the past seven years. They have not met one target that they have set on austerity, yet blindly continue to make public services their scapegoat. They cannot and must not be given a renewed mandate for further cuts, outsourcing of services and axing our rights at work. If we don’t act now, by 2020 we simply may not have any public services left to defend.

UNISON will be working to promote an alternative vision for public services and campaigning against a so called ‘hard Brexit’ but we must not lose sight of what happens after Brexit. We want a country that supports the most vulnerable, adequately funds the vital services that are so desperately needed such as social care and the NHS and invests in the future through high standards of education and training for the next generations.

We need to ensure everyone who is eligible to vote is actually registered to vote and has a voice in this election. Please make sure you are registered and share information about how to register far and wide.

Maggi Ferncome Regional Secretary | UNISON South East