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'Public spending, public spending, public spending - that's what this union is all about,' said Jane Carolan of the...
'Public spending, public spending, public spending - that's what this union is all about,' said Jane Carolan of the NEC, moving a composite motion on the Comprehensive Spending Review at Unison's national delegate conference in Bournemouth yesterday.

Carolan reminded delegates that public spending under the Tories had plummeted in the interests of tax cuts.

She said chancellor Gordon Brown had changed the agenda in a positive direction with the spending review - which would mean an extra£400bn by 2005.

Conference adopted composite A (proposed by the NEC, the National Young Members' Forum, Salford, Glasgow and Scotland and Northern Ireland regions) and called for a campaign with the TUC to ensure that the third spending review increased direct investment in public services using well-paid and directly employed staff.

It also called for the threat to public spending levels posed by entry into the Euro to be highlighted.

Mike Kirby, Scotland, seconding the motion, also pointed out that despite these increases in public spending, many people in the UK still live in dire poverty. And these improvements do not affect them.

Forty per cent of applications for loans from the social fund were rejected because officials believed families could not make the loan repayments, he said.

'When they are turned down they go to high-interest, private lenders. They are in such dire poverty that they end up paying off both social fund and private loans,' he said.

'There needs to be a wider public debate [on all these issues and] about including the voices of the poor.'

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