Date: 16 April 2007
Public services will be key to election vote - Dave Prentis -
Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON - Scotland's largest
public service union - today will call for the forthcoming election
to focus on public services rather than a constitutional debate.
He pointed out that recent opinion polls had made clear that the
people of Scotland had identified the delivery of public services
as the most important policy affecting their vote.
Speaking on the first day of the STUC Congress in Glasgow Dave
will praise the increased investment in Scottish public services
and the rejection of the so-called choice agenda being followed
disastrously down South.
"It is important that we refocus the election campaign away from
issues of the constitution. He will say, "And towards issues that
really matter, and which recent BBC polls have told us are the most
important issue for the Scots electorate - the provision of services
on which individuals, families and communities depend, and how those
"The Scots electorate have, like UNISON, rejected the argument
that it does not matter who delivers their services. Indeed it is
rather like arguing that it does not matter who is elected on 3
May. It matters a great deal. Dave points out that we developed
our current range of public services because of the inadequacies
of others to deliver in the past. And he will attack as unacceptable
the tax fiddle' that has lead to Glasgow City Council shifting
its cultural and sports services to a private trust.
Dave will say "I sometimes get confused about the difference between
tax avoidance and tax evasion. I know one is illegal and one is
immoral but what Glasgow is doing is unacceptable. That a public
body funded through taxation should act in this way is appalling.
The threat to services is real and the impact on jobs and on those
who have devoted their careers to public provision is substantial.
And he will call for public service workers to be fairly paid.
"People deliver public services, and we need to recognise and reward
the investment they make. Public sector pay policy must not be used
as a means of underpaying those who deliver for all of us. That
is why we welcomed the decision of the Scottish Health Minister
to honour the Pay review Body settlement and not to betray the workers
in the NHS - albeit that the original level of settlement was wholly
inadequate. We reject the market in public services and reassert
our belief in public provision by adequately rewarded public service
Note - Dave will be available for interview by contacting the numbers
For Further Information Please Contact: Matt Smith (Scottish
Secretary) 07771 548 997(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer)
0771 558 3729(m)