Scotland's Budget 2002-03
Annual Expenditure Report of the Scottish
The Scottish Executive's Consultation Paper
The UNISON Scotland Response
UNISON Scotland supports the more open and
transparent Budget process in Scotland.
There are still concerns about the detail
and presentation of information in the Budget documents provided
for consultation, particularly in the Health & Community
Care, Education and Children and Local Government sections.
UNISON Scotland is concerned about the amount
of additional funding in each department which is ring-fenced
for specific projects rather than being allocated to local
authorities to protect local jobs and services.
UNISON Scotland opposes the use of PFI/PPP
funding and particularly concerned about the lack information
regarding PFI/PPP in the AER document.
Education and Lifelong Learning - the cut
in this department's budget announced as part of the spending
reallocation in June 2001 concerns UNISON Scotland and it
is not yet clear where these cuts will fall.
Health and Community Care - UNISON Scotland
welcomes the real term increase in health spending in 2001-02
and 2002-03. However, there are extra pressures being put
on hard-pressed NHS staff due to increased public expectation
about the speed, quality and range of services to be provided
by the NHS.
Free personal care - UNISON Scotland welcomes
the announcement of additional funding for free personal care
for older people and hopes that the increased spending will
result in adequately funded, high quality services and suitably
rewarded staff, irrespective of the sector that they work
Social justice - UNISON Scotland notes with
disappointment the continued allocation of resources to Community
Transport - UNISON Scotland is disappointed
that the transport budget has been cut because of the ill-advised
decision to award the roads maintenance contract to privatised
This paper constitutes a response from UNISON Scotland
to the Scottish Executive Annual Expenditure Report setting out
spending priorities for 2001-02 to 2003-04. This response also
comments, where appropriate, on the adjustments to the AER announced
by the Finance Minister, Angus MacKay MSP, on June 28th
UNISON is Scotland's largest trade union and represents
staff in almost all of the areas highlighted in the spending plans.
AS UNISON Scotland made clear last year, we strongly
support the more open and transparent Budget process in Scotland,
which is one of the major benefits of devolution. However, we
were critical of the lack of detail given in previous Budget consultation
documents. Although this year's detailed document is better in
some respects than that produced in 2000 it still contains only
Level 3 information which is not sufficient, in our view, to allow
full scrutiny of the Budget process. In particular, the sections
on Health & Community Care, Enterprise & Lifelong Learning
and Local Government fail to give a clear picture of the complex
spending allocations made by these departments. There is still
also confusion over the allocation of budgets to cross-cutting
UNISON Scotland is particularly concerned about
the lack information regarding PFI/PPP in the AER document. We
note the comments of the Finance Committee on this issue, in their
10th Report on stage 1 of the 2002/03 Budget Process,
where they call for the re-instatement of the PFI/PPP table containing
information on the capital spending and we support that view.
We would also like far more detailed information about the revenue
implications of PFI on the projected spends of each department
in future years.
UNISON Scotland welcomes the 6% increase in this
year's budget which is significantly in excess of the current
rate of inflation and which will allow for real terms increases
for most Departments. This will go some way towards addressing
the damage to Scotland's public services from years of underfunding.
However, it must be recognised that extra investment leads to
increased public expectation about the level of service and that
these expectations impact significantly on our members, as the
frontline staff delivering services.
The reallocation of resources announced by Angus
MacKay on 29th June also provides welcome additional
funding to health and education. We are, however, concerned at
the reduction in the Enterprise & Lifelong Learning budget.
UNISON Scotland welcomes the significant real term
increases for offender services and victim and witness support
in 2001-02 and 2002-3 and fully support the move towards increased
use of non-custodial sentences. The allocation of these additional
resources should recognise the increased contribution made to
the fight against crime by police civilian and court support staff,
who remain amongst the lowest-paid public sector workers.
Education and children
UNISON Scotland welcomes the increases in central
spending on these areas whilst recognising that the bulk of spending
comes from the Local Government and Health budgets. We particularly
welcome the £3.6 million to increase the number of qualified child-care
workers. However, we remain concerned that the bulk of significant
real-term increases come from directly controlled budgets, such
as the Excellence Fund, presumably at the expense of increases
to local government so that they can fund locally identified priorities
and protect existing local services.
We are also concerned about the increasing amount
of resources being wasted through PFI projects to refurbish schools,
which often result in fewer classrooms, teaching areas and sports
facilities in order to reduce costs to prove the case for PFI
rather than public sector funding.
Enterprise and Lifelong Learning
The cut in this department's budget announced
as part of the spending reallocation in June 2001 concerns UNISON
Scotland. Which aspects of the AER will this cut affect?
UNISON Scotland is pleased that significant additional
funding is to be provided to help establish Careers Scotland.
We do have a range of concerns regarding these services which
are set out in our submission on this issue.
We are concerned that there is no real term increase
in funding for further and higher education in 2002-03. However,
as was the case last year, the lack of detail in the spending
for Education and Lifelong Learning makes any more constructive
Health and Community Care
UNISON Scotland welcomes the real term increase
in health spending in 2001-02 and 2002-03 which, on top of last
year's increased allocation, will help continue to rebuild the
NHS in Scotland after many years of crippling under-investment.
However, seen in the context of the scale of the resources needed,
the increased funding so far to hospital and community services
has been relatively modest.
Much of the increased funding is swallowed up by
the increased cost of new treatments and medical advances. This
is exacerbated by increased public expectation about the speed,
quality and range of services to be provided by the NHS. In addition,
as we remarked last year, resources are still being squandered
through the inefficient use of the Private Finance Initiative,
with projects totalling more than £500 million announced so far.
The on-going cost implications of these projects for NHS Scotland
are not addressed in the Budget document. We have set out our
concerns on this issue in more detail in our evidence to the Finance
Committee Inquiry on PPP/PFI.
With the imminent re-organisation of the health
trusts UNISON Scotland would expect an increase in basic core
funding which is not ring-fenced to meet specific objectives.
It is not clear from the Budget document whether the increased
Arbuthnott allocations to Health Boards include ring-fenced funding.
In fact, the presentation of health and community
spending is still confused and lacks detail. UNISON Scotland notes
and agrees with the comments of the Health Committee of the Scottish
Parliament in this respect, when it calls for greater disaggregation
of the large spending allocations within the health budget plans
and also calls for the document to show how priorities are being
implemented by local Health Boards. Accountability within the
NHS in Scotland is obviously still a major issue.
In respect of the additional spending allocation
announced by the Finance Minister due to the reallocation of spending
priorities, UNISON Scotland notes that the bulk of the additional
funding for health is for providing free personal care. UNISON
Scotland welcomes free personal care for older people and hopes
that the increased spending will result in adequately funded,
high quality services and suitably rewarded staff, irrespective
of the sector that they work in.
We note the continued allocation of resources to
Community Ownership, presumably at the expense of other local
government funding to help protect local jobs and services. UNISON
Scotland strongly opposes this scheme and believes that the resources
allocated to it could be better directed.
UNISON Scotland welcomes the funding for the Warm
Deal and supports the Executive in its aim of eradicating fuel
poverty in Scotland. However, there is a need for a comprehensive
strategy to address fuel poverty and we have set out proposals
in our recent response to the fuel poverty consultation draft.
The greater detail given for Social Inclusion funding
in this section of the document is very welcome. Again, however,
UNISON Scotland has reservations about such large sums of money
being provided at the expense of direct local government funding.
We also have concerns about the sustainable long-term
funding of social inclusion projects directly funded by the Scottish
Executive at the outset but with no long-term assurances about
funding, leaving them at the mercy of hard-pressed local government
budgets in future years.
UNISON Scotland welcomes the concessionary fares
scheme as the first step towards creating a Scotland-wide concessionary
fares plan for older and disadvantaged people.
UNISON Scotland is very disappointed that the transport
budget has been cut because of the ill-advised decision to award
the roads maintenance contract to privatised contractors. Such
a short-term saving has been made at the expense of the level
of service given to local council-tax payers and our members'
pay and conditions. This is an example of putting crude cost-cutting
ahead of high quality public services.
The cut will also result in a continued decline
in the roads network as both trunk and council roads need substantial
investment. To give just one example, the Highland Council budget
allows for resurfacing roads once every 108 years.
UNISON Scotland welcomes the move towards three
year budgeting for local government and the provision for general
increases in pay and prices (although there is still a lack of
detail about the underlying assumptions upon which this funding
is based). Although the increases in capital spending consents
are welcome, UNISON Scotland has concerns about the revenue implications
of such consents in order to service loans and supports CoSLA's
call for capital spend to be funded by grants rather than consents.
UNISON Scotland is also still of the view that the
Scottish Executive should consider further relaxation in the controls
placed on local authorities, rather than continuing to increase
the amount of funding that is ring-fenced. Headline increases
in expenditure can mislead the public and hides real cuts in some
UNISON Scotland believes that of spending the distribution
formula still needs to be resolved. In addition there is still
an urgent need to review the basis of local government finance.
The allocation of business rate revenue discriminates against
urban areas which generate the most revenue but do not see an
equitable share of resources. For example, Glasgow collects £264m
in business rates yet only receives £201m back under the current
UNISON Scotland is very concerned that the budget
for SEPA in 2001-02 and 2002-03 contains no real term increases
will make it very difficult for SEPA to properly fulfil its obligations
under the various EU directives which have to be implemented and
the additional responsibilities it was given last year, such as
the Flood Warning System. This is particularly worrying, given
the context of inadequate funding over recent years and the increased
role for the private sector in water and wastewater services.
UNISON Scotland has significant concerns about the
impact of the Water Services Bill and the proposed amalgamation
of the three Scottish Water Authorities on the level of service
and the effect on our members' jobs, as detailed in our response
to the Bill. UNISON Scotland firmly believes that there can be
no level financial playing field with multi-national competitors
in England unless there is equivalent debt write off and public
investment in the current system. UNISON Scotland rejects the
extensive use of PPP/PFI schemes which are unnecessary and costly
to the taxpayer.
For Further Information Please Contact:
Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary
14, West Campbell Street,
Glasgow G2 6RX
Tel 0141-332 0006 Fax 0141 342 2835
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