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Date: 9 October 2007

Scotland's public services need continued investment to boost economy - UNISON responds to CSR announcement

UNISON - Scotland's public service union - today responded to the Chancellor's Comprehensive Spending Review by welcoming the crackdown on tax loopholes and calling for the increased investment to include money for staff , training and resources to pay fair salaries to those delivering them.

The union said it was ready to enter discussions with the Scottish Government as they prepare their Budget. Dave Prentis, UNISON's General Secretary said "The Chancellor has got off to a good start with his crackdown on loopholes and dodges that allow the super rich to get away with not paying their fair share. This money should be earmarked to keep-up the investment levels in our public services initiated by Gordon Brown.

"The record investment in our public services has enabled us to deliver real improvements in our schools and hospitals. We are glad that the Chancellor has not lost his nerve and slammed the brakes on public service investment.

"Investment in public services must include investment in staff and training. Pay is a crucial factor in maintaining morale. Putting an artificial limit on pay across the public sector restricts genuine attempts to reward staff for successful reform and will store up industrial problems for the future. "

In addition UNISON points out that the public sector is an important driver of the Scottish economy, and the union has independent research* to back this claim. This found that not only was there little or no evidence to back the 'crowding-out' theory, on the contrary the public sector had a key role to play in promoting many aspects of economic growth.

Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary said "The public sector provides roads, healthcare, education and training, a legal framework and much other infrastructure without which the Scottish economy would be the loser. It also spends money in the private sector both through procurement and via its workforce, and directly funds valuable research and development.

"UNISON and both governments all agree on the need to continue to grow our economy. The evidence is that this is helped to grow by public sector investment and the services that our members provide. We will want early talks with the Scottish Government as it prepares its budget."


Note for Editors:- *the 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

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)