The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) is today publishing its 2016 Budget Submission to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and an associated report on the current state of the Scottish labour market.
The Budget Submission highlights a number of serious concerns over the state of the Scottish economy including the crisis in the oil and gas sector, technical recession in manufacturing and the ongoing contractionary effect exerted by austerity. Recommendations in the report include:
• With the Chancellor acknowledging that the economy is facing significant internal and external challenges, there should no consideration of further spending cuts. Rather, fiscal consolidation should be
1) postponed until the economy is able to withstand contractionary effects, and
2) shifted from spending cuts towards tax increases for those best able to shoulder the impact.
• Budget 2016 to stimulate job creation by providing additional public investment of 2% of GDP in each year across the forecast. • the Chancellor should drop his mandate for fiscal policy which has no support in the economics community. Any replacement must enable the Government to take advantage of historically low rates of interest by increasing investment spending. • Every possible assistance to be provided to the crisis hit oil and gas industry including support for workers losing or at risk of losing their job and tax cuts/incentives.
The latest STUC labour market report finds that:
• Scotland’s full-time employment deficit currently stands at 15.2%; more than double the ILO rate of unemployment of 5.8%;
• the median Scottish worker is earning over £1170 less than if gross wages had kept with inflation since 2009;
• Workers in the bottom decile of the lowest paying sectors have suffered cuts in nominal wages over the past 6 years whilst workers in the top decile of the highest paying sectors have seen very significant real wage increases: the gross weekly wage of corporate managers in the top decile increased by 21.7% or £305 between 2009-2015 while workers in the bottom decile of elementary occupations seen wages fall by 5%;
• Unemployment (level) remains 55,000 or 51% higher than its pre-recession trough;
• full-time jobs, despite increasing over the year, are still down since 2008; part-time jobs and self-employment have risen significantly.
Commenting on the publication of both papers, Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said:
“The STUC has serious concerns about the prospects for rising and broadly shared prosperity in Scotland through 2016 and beyond. Our latest report shows that the headline figures do not tell the full story about how workers are experiencing an increasingly insecure and unequal labour market. Our Budget Submission sets out a number of ways in which the Chancellor could help Scottish workers and those hit hardest by austerity. It is vital that Budget 2016 addresses these concerns or the Scottish economy could be facing a particularly tough year”.
For further information contact Stephen Boyd 0141 337 8100