Rebuilding collective prosperity - a charter for
"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"
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",
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 -
"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
"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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