STUC in 'curb spending cuts' call to Westminster

Image caption,
Rising taxes to cut the debt is a better plan, says Grahame Smith

The leader of Scotland's trade unions has said it would be irresponsible for the new Westminster government to press ahead with spending cuts.

Grahame Smith, general secretary of the STUC, said while the economy remained fragile cuts should be delayed.

The union leader is writing to Chancellor George Osborne to tell him his views.

Mr Smith said he would rather see tax increases being used to reduce the government's deficit.

The letter insisted Scottish trade unionists were "extremely concerned over both the impact of the recent recession on Scotland's workers and communities and the current economic situation which, we believe, is fragile in the extreme".

It added: "A double dip recession is a distinct possibility and, even if this is avoided, there is every chance that the UK could slide into a prolonged period of economic stagnation."

The letter accepted that government deficits could not continue at current rates, but with recovery weak, Mr Smith argued that "the early and deep cuts in public expenditure" proposed by the new coalition government risked "tipping the economy back into recession".

He added: "The timing is premature and the balance of consolidation measures wrong - prices simply do not bear out the conventional wisdom that cuts are required now to placate increasingly belligerent markets."

Mr Smith's letter also argued that the approach to reducing the deficit was too biased towards spending cuts and not sufficiently loaded on tax increases.

He is due to raise the issue at the STUC's Highlands and Islands conference on Saturday.

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