Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Preparing for the Scottish Budget

The STUC is holding a budget lobby outside the Parliament at 12 noon tomorrow (Wed 17 November), to remind MSPs of the devastating effects that cuts can have, and to ask them to support the principles of the There is a Better Way Campaign and to prioritise jobs and services and introduce fair taxation and a living wage.
Scotland has just come out of the longest and deepest recession since World War II and the recovery from this has been weak and prolonged. Long-term unemployment is at its highest level for a decade and the number of job seekers outstrips the number of jobs available in every local authority in Scotland.
This crisis is first and foremost a crisis in unemployment and growth. The coalition Government should be prioritising creating jobs not destroying them. By prioritising paying down the deficit over all things, the coalition Government is putting at risk our communities and our economy.
Making swinging cuts to the public sector, at the expense of 1 million jobs across the UK, with 100,00 of them here is Scotland, will not create growth. The private sector cannot hope to fill this space. It is too big a task when the economy has been week for so long both in Britain and internationally.  
Scotland knows only too well, the social and economic costs of recession and long-term unemployment, particularly long-term youth unemployment. We are still coping with the effects of the last recession in the 1980s. We know that these spending decisions have a massive and enduring legacy.
But there is a difference between now and the 1980s.  Now we have a Scottish Parliament who can set its own budget. So we are looking to them to be the first line of defence for Scotland and to stand up for our jobs and our communities.
By prioritising jobs and services, by introducing fair taxation and a living wage, this Government can shift the burden away from the poorest in society, they can help stimulate growth and they can support our recovery.  
Our lobby tomorrow is to ask MSPs to support our campaign and to remind them that we do have choices and there is a better way.

Helen Martin- STUC

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