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Weds 27 April 2005

UNISON welcomes cross-party backing for dropping the debt

UNISONScotland, backed today's call from the Scottish Parliament on the British Government to lead international demands to drop international debt payments, provide more international aid and back trade justice, during their presidency of the G8 and the Chair of the EU.

The union also welcomed the Labour Party's Manifesto commitment to stop aid being conditional on privatisation of basic services.

Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Policy and Information, said "UNISON welcomes today's motion from Des McNulty MSP and the cross-party backing it has gained. We will also be backing the call from Gordon Brown MP at the Scottish Labour Conference, for the Make Poverty History (MPH) demo on July 2 to be a major show of support for trade justice, and to back dropping the huge interest payments that the developed world are demanding from the poorest countries.

"Gordon Brown has already made significant positive steps - cancelling the UK debts of the poorest countries and doubling aid since 1997. The Labour Party Manifesto commitment to end the practice of making aid conditional on sensitive economic policy choices, such as trade liberalisation and privatisation, is a huge step forward in getting basic services to the poorest countries of the world."

UNISON is heavily involved in international campaigning and the organisation of the huge MPH rally planned for Edinburgh on July 2. Support was also committed by the STUC Congress last week in Dundee.

"As Scotland's largest union," Dave said, "UNISON is proud that we are already committed to the largest possible mobilisation of our members for the Make Poverty History march in Edinburgh on July 2."

UNISON has 150,000 Scottish members. The union has also agreed to back other activity around the G8 summit, including the G8 Alternatives seminar on July 3 and the blockade of Faslane, called by CND on July 4.


Note for Editors: Detail about the Make Poverty History demonstration can be obtained from the MPH site. There is a link to this site from the UNISON Scotland home page.

For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish Org - Policy & Info) 0845 355 0845(w) 07787 558 410(m) Michael Macneil (Sec - Scott Int Rels Cttee) 0845 355 0845(w) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)