Tuesday, 16 November 2010

UNISON calls on Scottish government to protect public services

Date: Tuesday 16 November 2010

UNISON Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to issue a budget that protects public services and avoids the ideological cuts imposed by the UK Government.

While precise figures will not be known until the Government publishes its spending review and draft budget tomorrow (Wednesday), UNISON Scotland’s analysis of planned local budgets shows that councils and health boards are planning much greater cuts than the Scottish budget would indicate.

UNISON’s Scottish organiser Dave Watson said: "There’s a real lack of understanding about the deficit and many believe that cuts in public spending are both essential and inevitable – they’re not.

“The cuts are already impacting on service delivery while demand is increasing. Some 60,000 public sector and 65,000 private sector jobs could go in Scotland because of these cuts, costing the Treasury around £500m in lost tax revenue and £640m in increased benefit payments. This not only adds to the annual deficit, it almost entirely cancels out the saving to the public sector pay-bill. And these cuts don’t just mean job losses, they mean the loss of vital public services that we all rely on.”

The cuts will put further pressure on public bodies which are already facing increased demands on services due to the recession, reductions in income, the council tax freeze and cuts in business rates.

Dave Watson added: “We expect the Scottish Government to articulate an alternative economic approach based on the Better Way promoted by the trade unions in Scotland. This approach, based on fair taxation and cutting real waste, is more in tune with Scottish opinion than the ideological cuts imposed by the Tories and their Liberal partners.”


Notes to editors
1.    For more information on UNISON’s alternative to the cuts visit www.unison-scotland.org.uk/publicworks

2.    Trade unionists and service users from across the country will lobby their MSPs at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday) ahead of the Scottish Spending Review. The STUC-organised lobby is part of the There Is A Better Way campaign. For more information visit www.thereisabetterway.org


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