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4 September 2010

Prentis warns Scotland’s political leaders against slashing public services based on ‘ice cream van economics’

Dave Prentis
Dave Prentis speaking this morning in Glasgow

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis will today (Saturday) warn Scottish politicians to ignore the ‘ice cream van economics’ of the recent Independent Budget Review report.

He will tell a major conference in Glasgow that the country’s political leaders will be judged on how far they distance themselves from the July report and fight to protect the services that people rely on.

In the run up to the event he said that the report by the so-called three wise men painted a vision of a future “where services are privatised or charged for, if they are there at all” and where 35-60,000 jobs are cut.

Dave added: “I don’t want to be too harsh on these three not very wise men. They were asked to deliver a package of cuts. That’s what they have done.

“A proper review of the budget would have started by looking at the services we need, then working out how you raise the money to pay for them. “You don’t look at a Government’s finances and say ‘we’ve got this much, what can we get for it?’

“That’s what kids do at an ice cream van. We should be able to expect better from experts looking at a country’s finances.”

UNISON Scotland’s ‘There is an alternative’ conference today will see more than 200 union and community activists from around the country share experiences about threats to local services and discuss how to develop the union’s Public Works campaign.

Keynote speaker Stephen Boyd, STUC assistant secretary, will deliver an economic analysis that demonstrates that there is an alternative to the cuts and privatisation agenda.

Dave added: “I have a message for the Scottish Government. The Independent Budget Review is just a tartan version of the Tory plan for the rest of the UK. It’s a plan that the Scottish people rejected, overwhelmingly, at the ballot box only a few months ago.

“We’ll be able to judge the truth of how well Alex Salmond, or the other party leaders, stand up for Scotland by how much distance they put between themselves and this plan to devastate the country’s public services.”


Notes to Editors:

1. The ‘There is an Alternative’ conference takes place at the Thistle Hotel, Cambridge Street, Glasgow from 11am-3.30pm. Dave Prentis will be speaking at 11.05am. Stephen Boyd is due to speak at 11.30am.

2. News media will be able to attend/film during speeches by Dave Prentis and Stephen Boyd.

Please contact Fiona Montgomery or Malcolm Burns, as below.

3. Details of the conference are on UNISON Scotland’s website at www.unison-scotland.org.uk/publicworks/04sep/index.html

For further information please contact: Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer 0141 342 2877(o) 07908 672 890 (m) Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer 0141 342 2877 (o) 07958 063 182 (m)