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Date: 12 April 2006

STUC condemns Scottish Enterprise attack on public spending

The Scottish Trades Union Congress today issued a stinging attack on the chairperson of Scottish Enterprise, Sir John Ward. Moving a motion calling for a campaign to highlight the economic benefits of public spending, Matt Smith, Scottish secretary of UNISON accused the Chair of the publicly funded quango of complaining about public expenditure ‘crowding out' private business, whilst asking for more public spending for the quango.

"This argument leads, " he said, to the publicly funded chairperson, of the publicly funded Scottish Enterprise, taking time off from his membership of other publicly funded organisations to go on and complain about ….. too much public spending!"

Matt went on to point out how the public sector actually supports business, through education, research and development, developing infrastructure and by purchasing goods and services from the private sector.

"The business community too often call for cuts in public spending when what they really want is a bigger slice of the cake for themselves, via contracting or - at the extreme end - PFI/PPP." Matt said.

UNISON has commissioned academic research which found that claims that the public sector ‘crowded out' the private sector were unsubstantiated; comparisons with other countries show no direct relationship between public spending and economic performance; and indeed that public spending is critical to the success of the Scottish Economy.

Matt called on business and some media commentators to stop their unevidenced attacks on the public sector and to start debating the real interaction between the public and private sectors in a successful economy.


Note for editors: The research paper - Adding Value - by Andrew Cumbers and Kean Birch of the CPPR (Centre for public policy for regions)is available on the UNISON website. www.unison-scotland.org.uk/addingvalue.html





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