Date: 11 June 2007
Executive must keep public services accountable - UNISON
Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary of UNISON, Scotland's public service
union, will today (Monday) issue a call for the new Scottish Executive
to keep Scotland's public services provided by accountable public
bodies, and not to increase competition and privatisation.
Speaking at a conference organised to discuss who should deliver
public services in Scotland, Matt will also express concern about
proposals to reduce funding to local councils.
Matt Smith, said "Polls show that the Scottish people care who
runs their services. They do not think that either the private sector
- like Thames Water, or Consort Healthcare or unaccountable Trusts
like Culture and Sport, Glasgow - deliver better service than democratically
accountable bodies like local councils. People in Scotland do not
want the false 'choice' agenda that Westminster seems intent on
An Ipsos MORI poll commissioned as part of the union's campaign
to Revitalise Scotland's Public Services in April showed that over
three quarters of Scottish people think elected bodies are the best
for managing Scotland's public services. 77% of Scots think services
are best managed by elected bodies rather than private companies.
Matt will express concern that SNP commitment to introduce a centralised
income tax to replace council tax, will reduce funding for councils
and remove councils' financial accountability.
"An income tax to replace the council tax, not only threatens increased
taxes for working families." He said, "But such a tax would need
to be collected nationally. In the SNP's case it would also be set
nationally which removes any remaining control local councillors
have to raise revenue. Councils would no longer be accountable to
you and me for their tax-raising."
He will also call for services provided by the voluntary and community
sector should be fully funded by the commissioning body, "It is
important that services that people rely on are provided by organisations
with the resources to deliver them."
He said. "This means that where services are best delivered by
the voluntary sector, they must not be provided on the cheap. The
full cost of services delivered by sufficient, properly trained
and resourced staff must be provided."
Note for Editors:- 1)UNISON's manifesto Revitalising our
Public Services, is on the UNISON Scotland website. www.unison-scotland.org,uk/revitalise.
The Conference (Who Delivers?) - Run by Holyrood Magazine - is in
the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Monday June 11 from 09.30 am.
Matt Smith is available for interview via Chris Bartter (below).
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