Marlyn Glen MSP
Speech in the Scottish Parliament
There is a Better Way
3 March 2011
I thank Elaine Smith for securing this debate and restate the welcome that
she gave to the people in the gallery. I think that some of them might have
At this point, I should say that I really cannot agree with John Wilson’s
general criticisms of unions.
The unions into schools briefing was also excellent and gave hope to a new generation of trade unionists.
Of course, it also reminded us of worries for the future of young people in
this economic climate.
The aim might be laudable but, as we have seen this week, it is not particularly easy to achieve.
The Christie commission will present opportunities for examining how public
services will be delivered in future but there will have to be a balanced and
true partnership with trade unions if it is to deliver realistically.
The problem for people on low incomes is just that: they have low incomes.
Any rise in costs, whether through regressive VAT rises or increasing prices, means that they have to pay more with less money, particularly given the planned cuts in benefits.
For so many, the situation is impossible.
Given that more women work in the public sector and use public sector services, they suffer a double whammy when cuts are made.
It is therefore increasingly important that gender analysis is undertaken of
key budget proposals. We need decisions to be published so that we can track and
measure the outcomes.
The campaign points to a different way—a better way—in which public spending,
the public sector and the public sector workforce are seen as neither at fault
for the deficit nor the target for its reduction.
The cabinet secretary, Mike Russell was nominated for the wooden heart award
for the most callous cuts—and that was before the EIS’s decision to ballot
members on whether to accept proposed changes to their pay and conditions.
However, here in Scotland we can make a difference, too.
In particular, I ask the Scottish Government what action it will take to protect the one-price-goes-anywhere, six-days-a-week universal postal service obligation—a service that is essential for communities in Scotland.
How will the Scottish Government lead people in a better way?