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Glasgow council plan to cut community workers would be a grave error

AS social work and community work academics and practitioners in the west of Scotland, we are writing to express our dismay at the proposal by Glasgow City Council to reduce the number of community workers across the city by 62%.

If implemented, the current workforce of 16 workers would be reduced by 10, with eight basic grade and two team leaders' posts disappearing, leaving only one team leader and five and a half posts at basic grade level.

It is difficult to square this cut with the commitment in the city council's current corporate plan to "building strong and resilient neighbourhoods and communities". In recent years, community workers in Glasgow have made a vital contribution in helping adults with learning disabilities and their carers prepare for the transition towards the key Scottish Government policy of self-directed support. They have helped to give a voice to groups whose views and experiences are frequently overlooked, including older people and asylum seekers. And they have assisted communities in developing ways of minimising the impact of Westminster-imposed cuts in services and reductions in benefits to disabled people.

Glasgow has a rich tradition of community work which encompasses the work of Geoff Shaw and the Gorbals Group in the 1950s, the anti-dampness campaigns of the 1970s, and the huge expansion of community development by the newly-created Strathclyde Regional Council in 1975. At a time when poor communities are bearing the brunt of austerity policies and when policy document after policy document emphasises the importance of preventative approaches and early intervention, this is a tradition which should be built on, not undermined.

Professor Iain Ferguson, University of the West of Scotland, High Street, Paisley; Fiona Ballantyne, Chair, Community Development Network; Liam Kane, University of Glasgow; Professor Ross Deuchar, UWS; Barrie Levine, Glasgow Caledonian University; Dave Beck, University of Glasgow; Angela McCormick, Further Education lecturer; Annette Coburn, UWS; Professor Henry Maitles, UWS; Will Dinan, UWS; Neil McPherson, UWS; Kate Miller; Jackie Howie, Adult Education Worker; Gordon Asher, UWS.

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