Mike Kirby, Scottish secretary, statement on the Scottish budget

UNISON is the public services trade union and the largest trade union in Scotland. Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish secretary said:

“Today’s (12 December) Scottish government budget fails to make the investment in public services that our country needs. The Scottish government should have taken advantage of their tax powers to maintain essential public services. Instead they have further cut business tax and maintained the failed small business bonus scheme. The rise in local government funding is less than both CoSLA and Audit Scotland say is necessary to maintain vital public services.

“Public sector pay rose by just 4.4% between 2010 and 2016 while the cost of living rose by 22%. So today’s public sector pay increase of 3% may monitor inflation but fails to restore massive cuts in earnings since 2010. Equally the government could have used procurement guidelines to address low pay and the living wage in the voluntary sector.

The announcement in early years appears to recycle previous announcements and it is questionable whether this is enough to meet Scottish government’s aspirations for early years education. There was much welcome in the welfare package however they missed the opportunity to use their powers to lift thousands of children out of poverty”