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9 September 2010

Political leaders urged to champion a better way forward for Scotland

UNISON Scotland is warning political leaders to ignore the recommendations in the Independent Budget Review (IBR) and instead to champion a better way forward for Scotland.

Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said the financial projections vastly understates the scale of cuts in local services and said the public should not be left to pay the price for bailing out Britain’s banks.

He said: “The financial projections, whilst disastrous for public services and the economy, actually understate the scale of cuts in local services.

“The IBR fails to question the necessity for these cuts, adding to the myth that cuts in public spending are both essential and inevitable. Cutting public spending now will simply prolong and deepen the recession – it is an ideological, not economic, response to calls for cuts in public spending and will devastate the nation’s public services.”

UNISON’s analysis of planned local cuts shows that councils and health boards are planning much greater cuts than the IBR would indicate. This is because real inflation is likely to far exceed the notional Treasury allowance for inflation. Public bodies also face increased demands on services due to the recession and demographic change, plus reductions in income in addition to the Council Tax freeze.

Dave added: “The public should not be left to pay for the failure of private corporate folly through cuts in services.
“There is a credible economic alternative to the cuts and privatisation agenda and political leaders will be judged on how far they distance themselves from this report. Instead, our MSPs should be championing a better way forward for Scotland.”


Notes to Editors:
1. A parliamentary debate on the Independent Budget Review is being held today (Thursday, September 9).
2. UNISON Scotland’s briefing to MSPs can be found online at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/index.html

For further information please contact:
Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) 07958 122 409 (m)
Trisha Hamilton (Communications Officer) 0141 342 2877