Date: Wednesday 23 September 2015
Scottish public bodies must mitigate austerity, says UNISON
UNISON Scotland is launching a campaign today (23 September 2015) calling on the Scottish Government, local authorities and public bodies to do all they can to mitigate UK government austerity.
The public services trade union is calling for a range of financial and industrial policies to create investment in Scottish infrastructure, green energy production and jobs.
With interest rates at an all time low, it is cheaper to buy out or refinance PPP / PFI contracts saving up to £12bn; pension funds could be a source of badly needed investment for infrastructure, we need a political consensus on reform of local taxation; and councils should collaborate in using bonds as a means of financing borrowing rather than routinely using the Public Works Loan Board.
Dave Watson, head of UNISON Scotland bargaining and campaigns, said ‘We are expecting a further £2bn of cuts to local public services across Scotland. We could save £2bn by refinancing PFI / PPP projects. Every sensible measure that government and public authorities take will reduce damage to vital public services and protects jobs. And some councils are already using pension funds to invest in affordable housing, but we need to do this on a national scale.'
Dave Watson continued:
‘Scottish local government has already seen over 40,000 job losses and many more jobs have been lost in the NHS, police, community and voluntary sector. Of course UNISON is joining with the STUC and others to campaign against austerity, however we are ready to work with Scottish Government and public authorities to do all we can to mitigate against the worst effects of these cuts’
The report is launched today
- Danny Phillips, communications officer, 07944 664 110 or 0141 342 2877
- Dave Watson, head of bargaining and campaigns, 07958 122 409 or 0141 342 2840