Draft Budget 2014-15

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th December 2013.

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Photo of Anne McTaggart Anne McTaggart Labour

I most certainly was not saying that they are all rich.

For too many families, this Christmas will be a modest affair, with the tragic choice between heating and eating once again being contemplated. More families are in this situation than was the case at this time last year because of the huge number of public sector redundancies that have been necessary in order to meet yet more budget cuts. Last month’s Audit Scotland report on Scotland’s public sector workforce concluded that there were 26,600 fewer jobs—that is 26,600 households—in the public sector in March 2013 compared with March 2009, which amounts to an incredible 5 per cent of all jobs in our councils. That pattern of redundancy, poverty and hardship is unsustainable and much more must be done to make a real difference to the lives of those who are suffering the most.

Although the Westminster Government is damaging our economy with its misplaced priorities, we can do so much more here in Scotland to mitigate the effects of its decisions. It is time to pursue a cross-party solution to the very real problems that Scots face in the new year. That means looking for solutions that exist now, not putting Scotland on pause.