VICTORIA – Housing and funding increase announcements in this year’s provincial budget mask spending cuts on childcare services and the fact that inflation nullifies increases in other areas, the Canadian Union of Public Employees said today.
“The news for the average British Columbian is not as good as it looks,” said CUPE BC general vice president Ken Davidson.
“While it’s good to see increases rather than cuts, the tax cuts show that the government can afford to improve the services that British Columbians rely on. It’s not good enough to simply blame the federal government for childcare cuts. The fact is that we can afford childcare, British Columbian families need childcare, but it’s not a priority for the Liberals.”
Funding for early childhood development, childcare and support to children with special needs will see a reduction of $105.4 million this year. And, despite government promises that pay increases will be fully funded, in sectors such as education, a 2.3 per cent increase will not even cover inflation plus wages and benefits.
“While promising a $16-million increase this year for contract community and social services providers, government officials claim not to know what percentage increase this is,” added Davidson.
“Individual families may have received a tax cut, but those savings are not going to go toward the cost of childcare, and they should.”
Davidson also noted that the budget estimates show only a two-percent increase for B.C. transit.
“It seems ironic, that a government that claims to be ‘going green’ proposes to fund a public transportation system at less than the cost of inflation,” he said.
“We need better funding in community and social services to recruit and retain staff, we need better funding for special needs children, we need a real childcare system. This good news budget has none of that.”
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CUPE BC General vice president