Scottish Government must 'bin the spin' and commit to funding fair pay in budget statement

Created on: 14 Dec 2022 | Last modified: 20 Apr 2023

The EIS has today (Thursday) called upon the Scottish Government to commit to properly funding Scottish education, and fair pay increases for teaching professionals, in its budget statement today.

The EIS cited recent reports from the Auditor General, the Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde, and the Scottish Trade Unions Congress which all highlighted that Scotland’s financial situation is not nearly as bleak as the Scottish Government claims.

Commenting ahead of the budget statement at the Scottish Parliament today, EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said, “The Scottish Government must commit to delivering appropriate levels of funding for Scottish education and for the pay of Scotland’s teaching professionals in its budget today. Despite its pleas of poverty, the Scottish Government still has a vast budget at its disposal, and with the potential to raise even more through use of its own financial levers.

"A recent report from the Auditor General confirmed that the Scottish Government underspent on last year’s budget by an astonishing two billion pounds. Last week, the STUC published an independent report highlighting how the Scottish Government could potentially use its financial powers to raise an additional £1.3 billion by April 2023, and £3.3 billion by 2026.

"And, just this week, a major report by the Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde illustrated how the Scottish budget has been less impacted by inflation this year than claimed and is more or less protected from the impact of inflation for the next two years.”

Ms Bradley added, “This is the context in which the Scottish Government is seeking to force sub-inflation level pay rises on public sector workers, including a proposed real-terms reduction in pay of up to 11% for Scotland’s teachers.

"Scotland’s teachers have rejected a series of four insulting pay offers – averaging 2%, 3.5%, 5% and 5.07% - from the Scottish Government and COSLA this year, at a time when inflation is still around 11% on the CPI measure and over 14% on the RPI measure. Scotland’s teachers continue to be paid less on average than their counterparts in other countries within the OECD, and their pay has fallen by at least 20% in real-terms since 2008.

"It is little wonder that a poll in a Scottish broadsheet newspaper yesterday (Wednesday) indicated overwhelming public support for the current campaign of strike action in pursuit of an improved pay settlement for all of Scotland’s teachers."