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Chancellor beware

The STUC is encouraged that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is committed to fulfil his spending plans. We agree with his analysis that this is the right stage of the business cycle to justify borrowing to fund public investment in vital services.

We warmly welcome the Chancellor's announcement in his pre-Budget statement of a new approach to public procurement. It's right that UK manufacturers and the UK manufacturing workforce should have the maximum opportunity to benefit from the public spending on major government projects. We hope and expect that this new approach to procurement will be mirrored in Scotland by the Scottish Executive.

On the New Deal, the STUC welcomes the new focus on moving people up the skills ladder, as well as the new training incentives for both employers and workers. Taken together with the new support for childcare, these announcements should make a real difference for working people.

We are concerned, however, about the inference that the Chancellor intends the new lower inflation measure be applied to the public sector while others continue to use the established index. Attempts to hold down wages of public servants in this way would be unfair, and likely to be resisted.

Bill Speirs

General Secretary, STUC

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