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STUC 2010

 

 


Rebuilding collective prosperity - a charter for public services

Matt Smith

Matt Smith
"saying to the people of Scotland that we will not stand idly by while attempts are made to make the many pay for the greed and folly of a wealthy few"

Barbara Fulton
Barbara Fulton

The STUC launched its election charter for public services, calling on all parties to sign up to a strategy to protect services and build out of the recession.

UNISON's Matt Smith, on behalf of the STUC General Council, told delegates, "The provision of decent sustainable accessible and accountable public services lies at the very heart of our society. Without them we are all the poorer; with them we can all go forward with confidence."

But they were under attack as never before. "Not because our public services have failed - they have not not because the need has gone away - it is increasing not because their provision cannot be afforded - we are a rich nation

"They are under threat because of the activities of a few who probably despise public provision. Who finance their own needs from the bonuses they extort who care little about accountability who couldn't care less about the needs of others", said Matt.

And the only answer the politicians seem to have is cuts. Bit cuts have consequences, said Matt. "Consequences like a double dip recession. As the only engine of economic growth we currently have is run down. Consequences of ever increasing unemployment as people move go from working in the day centre to signing on at the job centre. Consequences of decreased revenue from taxation as people move from earning wages to claiming benefits. Consequences of increased expenditure to support unemployment. An ever downward spiral."

Matt urged support for the STUC Charter for Public Services in the run up to the election. A charter which says

we should value those who work in our public services and ensure that they are adequately recompensed for the work they do.

there should be an overhaul of the tax system to support public services - "for example let's rid ourselves of the pointless Council Tax Freeze", said Matt.

we need to recognise the key role of the public sector as an economic generator PFI/PPP and the Scottish Futures Trust should be abandoned in favour of a Scottish Investment Bank

privatisation, outsourcing and other models should be stopped in favour of democratic and accountable provision

recognise the value of the voluntary sector and ensure adequate and sustainable funding.

"In passing this today you are helping to set our agenda for the year ahead and beyond", said Matt. "And saying to the people of Scotland that we will not stand idly by while attempts are made to make the many pay for the greed and folly of a wealthy few".

UNISON's Barbara Fulton waded in behind Matt to stress, "Let's be clear about why this composite is necessary. It's not because of a failure on the part of public services or the people that provide them, it is the banks who are at fault - not us.

"Untold billions of pounds have been spent bailing out the financial sector. It is wrong that the people who rely on public services should have to face cutbacks because of the greed and folly of bankers."

Cutting public spending will just make the recession worse, added Barbara.

"Right now, public spending is the only engine of growth we have. Cutting back now will jeopardise even the slight recovery we have. Investing in public services also helps local jobs and businesses - for every pound spent, 64 pence is recycled into the local economy. If you do the same calculation for tax cuts the figure is more like 25 pence.

"Every effort should be made to maintain current levels of support and public spending. And you know what - the country can afford it Britain isn't broken - public services make sure of that.

"Cuts in Scotland can be avoided The budget of the Scottish Government is going down by 0.7 per cent and this is being used to justify cut backs. But the impact of any cash shortfall is being intensified by choices that the SNP government are making. The accumulated cost of the Council Tax freeze will be 210m in 2010-11. That's money our public services need."

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