Scotland’s largest trade union, UNISON, is urging the Scottish Government to make funding public services its priority in Thursday’s budget statement.
The union argues that properly funding services is both a social and economic necessity. The union argues that the Scottish Government should use every avenue possible to ensure proper funding – including allowing public bodies such as councils to borrow more.
Speaking ahead of the Budget statement Mike Kirby said: “Public services, and more particularly those who deliver them, are struggling under unprecedented demand and an uncertain financial climate. Asking them to shoulder the burdens of further cuts dressed up as demands for efficiencies would be to add insult to injury.
“Even if, as everyone hopes, we begin to put Covid behind us as a health issue, there will remain an urgent need to rebuild our economy.
“The more effort that is put into sustaining public services the easier that will be. There is no quicker or more beneficial way for government to create jobs and local economic demand than investing public services. It is also the case that there is no easier way for a government to prevent an increase in unemployment than ensuring public services aren’t so poorly funded they make people redundant.
“It would be no surprise if in the current climate the Scottish Government maintains its reluctance to fully use its revenue raising powers. There should however be no reluctance to use their own limited scope for borrowing. They should also be doing everything they can to expand the borrowing capacity of public bodies. Sustaining public services is not building up debt – it is investment in recovery. “
UNISON has set out our views on economic recovery from Covid at greater length here.