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Date: 14 Mar 2006

UNISON welcomes Parliament's recognition public spending¹s importance to economy

UNISON ­ Scotland's public service union ­ today welcomed the report by the Scottish Parliament's Enterprise and Culture Committee that urges more public expenditure to encourage business growth and the economy.

The Committee's findings back up research carried out for the union earlier this year which challenged public business assumptions that public expenditure somehow 'crowded out' business investment.

Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary said "UNISON has long been clear that the public sector is an important driver of the Scottish economy, rather than the drain that the CBI and the Chair of Scottish Enterprise have claimed. We welcome this report that recognises the importance of public spending in providing physical infrastructure, education and training and research and development, and confirms the research we published in January. All of these are essential to growing our economy, and are often neglected by private business itself."

The union's research on this topic was carried out by Dr Andy Cumbers, and Kean Birch of the Centre for Public Policy for Regions (CPPR) a joint research initiative of Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities. It found that public sector investment in research and development has been critical in delivering important economic growth in new areas ­ eg IT and telecommunications (Finland) and biotechnology (Scotland).

It also provides physical and training infrastructure that assists the private sector in developing.

Matt Smith said "The public sector provides roads, healthcare, education and training, a legal framework and much needed research and development. It also spends money in the private sector through procurement and via its workforce. We assume that business commentators will now welcome this call for an increase in public expenditure, and demand that the private sector also increases its investment in R&D and training."


Note for Editors:- the UNISON report ­ Adding Value, Public sector spending and Scotland's economic development ­ is available on the UNISONScotland website at www.unison-scotland.org.uk/addingvalue.html

The Scottish Parliament Enterprise and Culture Committee report is on the web at www.scottish.parliament.uk/nmCentre/news/news-comm-06/cent06-001.htm

For Further Information Please Contact: Matt Smith (Scottish Secretary) 07771 548 997 (m) Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser ­ Policy) 07958 122 409(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)




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