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Date: 02 September 04

Cautious reaction to call for public sector efficiencies

Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary reacted with caution to the Government's call for public sector efficiencies.

"We have had some discussion with Andy Kerr, the Public Services Minister on this issue." He said.

"We are in favour of the efficient delivery of public services, and we have urged that part of any savings be used to address the low pay that is causing problems in recruiting and retaining key public service workers. We are already seeing the results of shortage in key skills. However, if efficiency savings are being used a disguise to conceal cuts in services, jobs or privatisation, then we will point that out and campaign against it."

"We can already suggest one saving, and that is the £5.8bn that the executive is wasting on the additional cost of PFI schemes."

He went on to say "There is a myth about public services put about by some in the private sector. Public services are not what comes at the end of the economic cycle - some drain on the country's progress. They are the life blood of our economic base. They purchase, they create infrastructure, they educate, they regulate, they provide health and care, they innovate, they create employment, they ensure the quality of life and build standards for others. That is why cuts in public services are bad for the economy as a whole."




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