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Date: Monday 5 January 2009

Scotland's public sector key to reversing economic downturn- UNISON

Scotland's largest public service union, UNISON, today issued a challenge to private sector critics of the public sector, accusing them of trying to blame the public sector for their own failings and highlighting the key role the public sector plays in boosting the economy.

In his New Year message to UNISONScotland Activists and staff, Scottish Secretary Matt Smith says, ôSome people, who have demanded that the public sector bail them out, have now been queuing up to try and ensure that Scotland's public services are penalised for the failures of the private sector. Their attack on the minimum wage, and the constant demand to privatise our public water supply are particularly despicable."

Contrary to the attacks of business critics who accuse the public sector of being a drain on the private sector, Mr Smith points to the key role of the public sector in providing the infrastructure that the private sector uses to produce and deliver goods.

He also points out: "Public services are very often crucial in ordering goods and services to stimulate demand- especially in parts of the country that have been forsaken by the private sector. Indeed when private financiers refuse to invest it is the public sector that provides that essential capital."

Public services also provide essential public services - emergency cover over public holidays and care for those who cannot care for themselves. And Mr Smith goes on to announce a commitment for UNISON to provide the leadership in defending and advancing the case for public services in the coming year.

ENDS

Note for Editors; The letter from Matt Smith to activists is available from Chris Bartter, (below) and will also be on the UNISONScotland website - www.unison-scotland.org.uk - from 5 January.

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

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