Speaking in advance of tomorrow’s Budget Statement and as the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) published its latest Labour Market Report, Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said:
“A full five years after the first recession hit the Scottish economy, employment, output and exports remain significantly below pre-recession levels and forecasts suggest that any recovery this year and next will be extremely weak.
“The economic strategy adopted by the Coalition Government has condemned the UK economy to a prolonged period of economic stagnation and mass unemployment. With youth unemployment stubbornly high and long-term unemployment and economic inactivity rising, it is clear that the mistakes of recessions past have already been repeated.
“It is therefore essential that in his Budget announcement tomorrow, the Chancellor introduces measures to boost jobs and growth. The STUC’s latest labour market report shows that the median wage in Scotland has fallen in real terms by £27 a week or £1410 a year. Therefore measures which boost disposable income such as a VAT cut together with a programme of deficit funded capital investment is the minimum required to get the economy moving.
“Our labour market report also highlights the UK’s appallingly low level of investment in active labour market measures. If unemployed people are not to suffer the erosion of skills and confidence associated with prolonged periods of unemployment then investment in credible, work based programmes must be enhanced.
“Tomorrow also sees publication of the next set of labour market data in Scotland. It is perhaps inevitable that politicians of all stripes will cherry pick employment statistics to tell whatever story they wish and our report draws attention to recent examples of such behaviour. If ever an issue demands mature, evidence based debate it is surely the current state of the labour market. Scotland politicians must really start raising their game”.
For further information contact Stephen Boyd 0141 337 8100