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Date: 29 September 04

Extra capital welcome - now we should use it efficiently - UNISON comments on spending plans

UNISONScotland, the public service union, welcomed the extra capital expenditure promised in the Scottish Executive's three year spending plans announced today by Finance Minister, Andy Kerr.

However, the union warned that unless the opportunity was taken to allow authorities to move away from expensive PFI/PPP projects, that extra money was unlikely to be used to deliver services most efficiently.

Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary, said "UNISON is pleased to see the Executive continuing to resource improvements in public services and infrastructure. However, we would urge them to use the opportunity to create a level playing field for public authorities, by providing the same subsidies to conventional borrowing as are being provided to PFI projects - allowing public bodies to choose the most effective method for building new facilities."

UNISON also sounded a warning on pay and jobs in the public sector. Matt Smith said: "Everyone is in favour of the efficient delivery of public services. But that is not achieved by cutting the jobs of those who deliver them. We will continue to work with the Executive to get efficient government, but we will want to see savings ploughed back into services, increasing resources and pay to get more trained staff - social workers, nurses, other health professionals - to deliver the services Scotland wants and needs."





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