New economic report concludes Scotland needs ‘urgent exit from austerity’, says UNISON

Scotland needs ‘urgent exit from austerity’ is the conclusion of a new report commissioned by UNISON, Scotland’s largest trade union.

The new report, The Impact of Austerity on Scotland, was written for UNISON by leading economist John McLaren. It outlines where Scotland’s economy is now in terms of growth, public spending and living standards.

The aim of the report was to dispassionately examine the facts about the post crash Scottish economy and look at the possibilities for a different approach.

Amongst points outlined

  • The impact of spending cuts  is not being equally felt – protection of the NHS and pensions,  is at the cost of other budgets, in particular local government and transport
  • Bigger tax and benefit losses applying to single parents and smaller ones to pensioners
  • Bigger cuts to more deprived localities than to less deprived ones

The report concludes that there are actions available to the Scottish Government to improve matters  although  none of these measures will be cost free, they will inevitably involve some degree of ‘trade off’. The report also makes clear that the greatest scope to offset future cuts to public services appears to rest with tax rises.

Dave Watson, UNISON head of policy and public affairs said, “What this report shows is that the continued cuts to public services are unsustainable, and if continued will do long lasting damage.  There is no simple solution however there are options open to the Scottish Government which can both limit the damage and set us on a path to recovery, whether that is more borrowing or tax rises.

These are not cost free but are vastly preferable to the continued degradation of Scotland’s public services. As this report points out most economists and international bodies believe that higher levels of public investment would help improve future growth prospects. This report is essential reading for all political parties”

 

UNISON Contacts

Dave Watson, head of policy and public affairs, 07958 122 409

Danny Phillips, communication officer, 07944 664 110

Notes

Read The impact of Austerity, by John McLaren here: https://unison-scotland.org/library/ImpactofAusterityonScotland_April2016.pdf