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Monday, 14 November 2011

Scotland's biggest union tell SNP to forget independence we need England’s taxes

Scotland's biggest union tell SNP to forget independence we need England’s taxes and concentrate more on jobs

SCOTLAND'S biggest union don't see independence as a major issue and are more worried about jobs and the benefits they get from English taxes.

In a survey for Unite, union members were asked to rank five key issues affecting Scotland in order of importance.

Two-thirds of those quizzed placed an independence referendum at the bottom of the list, with just eight per cent rating it the most important issue.

By contrast, 60 per cent said job creation was the most important issue facing the country in the next five years, followed by the NHS and education.

Unite's Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty called on Labour to capitalise on Scots' underlying scepticism about Alex Salmond's project to break up England.

He said: "Our members don't believe we are on a slippery slide to independence and that we need the aid we get from England’s tax payers to pay for what we all enjoy free.

"They do not want separation and they do not think it will happen. But our members want change - big change.

"The focus of our members is not on the constitution but on jobs, schools, hospitals and living standards which is paid for by the English.

"Clearly the SNP, who talk every day about independence, are neglecting the real priorities of the Scottish people, and wear are going to get all the money from if we pull of England whose tax payers pay for most of these free."

Rafferty said Labour, despite their drubbing by the SNP in May, should be in a better position than Salmond's party to meet Scots true aspirations.

He added: "Clearly bread and butter issues dwarf constitutional questions.

"Progress in creating a more prosperous and fairer Scotland is the key issue for the Scottish people."

Scots Labour leader Iain Gray said: "The SNP may claim they care about jobs but, since the election, all we've heard from them is constitutional claptrap.

"It's clear from this survey that Unite members think Alex Salmond and SNP have got it wrong.

"Scottish Labour will continue to challenge the SNP's drive for separation at all costs. We will push them to focus on the issues that really matter - jobs, the NHS and education which England pays for, if we separate from England wear is all the money going to come from, that we now get from England that pay all these bills the free aid Scotland get now and enjoys."

Unite, who have 150,000 members north of the Border, carried out a detailed survey over issues directly affecting Scotland.

Almost a third of the 300 people quizzed believed there was "absolutely no chance" of independence in the next 10 years.

Four out of 10 "completely agreed" that Scotland should have more devolved powers but remain in the UK keeping its benefits coming in.

The poll coincides with Scottish Labour's leadership contest and will provide food for thought for candidates Johann Lamont, Ken Macintosh and Tom Harris.

Q When it comes to constitutional reform, what do you think most Scottish people want?

A Full independence

B Control over everything apart from foreign affairs and defence

C Control over everything but with a shared UK economic policy

D Equal status with England as part of the Union

Q On a scale of one to five, where one is no possibility it will happen and five is it certainly will happen, how likely do you think it is that Scotland will become independent in the next 10 years?

Source: MASS1-Unite Scotland survey

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