For Immediate Release
Responding to today’s Scottish Budget, STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said:
“This budget is long on promise but falls short on delivery. Positioning the budget as building the well-being economy is to be welcomed but far more was required to make that a reality.
“There is no doubt that the UK Government’s approach to Budget setting has left the Scottish Government in a difficult position. But to tackle the ‘crippling reality of austerity’ requires investment in decent local services. At best the budget provides only half of what local councils say they desperately need.
“We welcome the freezing of the higher rate tax threshold but much more is needed on redistributive taxation if the well-being economy is to be achieved.
“The Scottish government has missed an opportunity to commit to building the homes for social rent desperately needed in Scotland. By the next budget, it will be too late and local authorities and housing associations will have downed tools, without the funding to continue to build more homes for social rent. It is also disappointing that there are minimal new financial commitments in social security.
“On pay we are pleased that the government has listened to unions and extended the 3% pay increase to those earning over £40k per year, however we are a long way short of the much-needed restoration on public service pay to pre-austerity levels.
“While there are some new measures to tackle climate change, the funding levels proposed are still not sufficient to tackle the climate emergency.
“Given the failure over a number of years to create the new green jobs once promised, it is crucial that new funding comes with new jobs and does not simply provide cash handouts to big business and landowners.
“To be worthy of the name of a Green New Deal would require a publicly led and planned approach to decarbonisation involving publicly-owned companies, something this Budget fails to do.”
For more information, please contact Dave Moxham, Deputy General Secretary, on 07891026870 or Rachel Thomson, Campaigns & Communications Officer, on 07974966227.