Commenting on ongoing negotiations to secure agreement on the Scottish Budget, Grahame Smith, General Secretary, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) said:
“Despite the failure of the Budget Bill on Wednesday, the point where jobs, services and investment are seriously threatened remains some way off. The current uncertainty cannot be allowed to grow but the STUC is encouraged by the apparent willingness of all parties to reach a workable accommodation.
“Reaching agreement on the Budget Bill must necessarily involve difficult decisions and trade offs but the STUC strongly believes that securing further investment in apprenticeships in these profoundly difficult economic times is right for two main reasons: it will help to ensure that the current recession does not consign a generation of young Scots to a life on the dole and it will also help prepare the economy for the challenges of the future. Similarly, the STUC has long argued that investing in home insulation will create quality employment as well as helping to safeguard the environment. Ensuring the skills are available to deliver these services is of course paramount.
“In the context of the Budget, the STUC must once again highlight the waste of public money that is one of the Budget’s headline measures: the Small Business Bonus Scheme. These tax cuts for small businesses are not tied to any job related investment and the scheme is so scatter gun in scope that the ‘bonus’ is even available to MSP’s offices. This money could have been used to either target assistance at companies genuinely struggling in the downturn or, preferably, have been used to establish a Scottish Investment Bank”.
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