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
"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."
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
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