STUC deeply concerned at cuts to council budgets and calls for use of tax powers to invest in services and jobs
Responding to today’s Scottish Budget STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said:
“No-one should envy the task faced by Derek MacKay in delivering a budget in the face of continued UK Government austerity, economic ineptitude and Brexit adventurism.
“Nevertheless, with new tax powers, the opportunity exists to use these powers to protect public services, those who use them and those who deliver them. There are no short cuts to delivering decent public services. The continuing public sector pay cap unless reversed will see the wages of public sector workers continue their unprecedented real terms decline.
“The STUC is deeply concerned at the impact of the £327 million budget cut on local authority services and calls on the Scottish Government to reverse the proposed cut as well as giving full freedom to councils to raise and to be accountable for the raising of, the council tax as they deem necessary.
“The decision not to pass on the Tories Tax cut for the wealthy is welcome, but falls far short of the reinstatement of the 50p upper rate that the STUC advocates. The Cabinet Secretary could, and should, have raised the basic rate of income tax. Far from protecting low income families, the freeze ensures that they will receive fewer services and have to pay for more.
“The extension of the Small Business Bonus Scheme which has already cost over £1 billion since it was introduced, signifies a continuation of a blunt fiscal instrument which has never been tested or proven in its ability to create jobs. If the aim is to deliver more and better jobs, this cash could be far better spent.
“On a brighter note, the STUC is pleased to see the continuation of the Living Wage commitment for care workers for which unions have long campaigned. The implementation of the pledge in its first year not been perfect but unions stand ready to continue to play a positive role in ensuring all care workers benefit from this commitment.”
For further details: Dave Moxham 0141 337 8100