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General Election will be Key for Social Justice & Public Services

Friday 2 June 2017

The EIS has today highlighted that next week’s UK General Election will have a major impact for social justice and on the future of public services, including education.

The EIS is not affiliated to any political party, and is not recommending how people should vote, but is urging its members to consider each party’s key policies before voting.

Surprisingly, as Education is not a reserved matter, Scotland’s education system has been a key area of debate in this UK election. The EIS welcomes this focus but cautions against simplistic sloganising in response to complex challenges.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "The UK General Election will have major implications for public services in Scotland – particularly with regard to the future funding of all of our public services, including education."

"The size of the Scottish block grant will be affected by funding decisions taken by the UK government so, although responsibility for many public services is devolved to the Scottish Parliament, this election will have a major impact on the overall funding available for Scottish education and other key public services."

"Teachers have followed closely the discussion on the 1% public sector pay cap and welcome all commitments that this needs to be reviewed."

"Teachers in Scotland have suffered under recent pay restraint measures and the profession has reached a point where recruitment has become an issue. Post the UK election, politicians in Scotland must address this issue."

Mr Flanagan continued, "More generally, but of at least equal importance, are the wider societal issues that are central to this election."

"The impact of austerity, including changes to welfare and benefits such as the shameful Child Tax Credit Cap, is hitting some of the most disadvantaged sections of society, including many young people across Scotland."

"The EIS believes that all parties, and all candidates, must demonstrate a commitment to social justice and to supporting a more equal society which will treat everyone fairly."

Mr Flanagan added, "Despite the UK being the sixth largest economy in the world, levels of child poverty across the country continue to be both shocking and shameful. Increased poverty in society widens the attainment gap in education."

"Children coming to school hungry will have their concentration affected, with consequences for their ability to learn.

The attainment gap that persists between pupils from more and less affluent backgrounds is a major societal issue, which will require a committed and coordinated response if it is to be overcome.

This must be one of the top priorities for government in all parts of the UK in the years ahead."

- The EIS Annual General Meeting will take place in Perth next week, starting on the same day as the General Election (Thursday 8 June) and running until Saturday 10 June.  See www.eis.org.uk for more information.