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Scottish jobless boast prompts angry reaction

When Jim Mather, the Scottish government's Enterprise Minister, step forward and directly compared the rate of unemployment in Scotland to that of the rest of the UK he must have felt like a saviour. However, within minutes of his speech the Scottish Trade Union Congress had publicly rebuked his comparisons, suggesting that the Scottish executive should concentrate on the Scottish economy and not on points scoring against the rest of the UK.

While it has to be said that the Scottish unemployment figure is around 7% compared to 7.8% for the whole of the UK, there have been unfortunate developments over the last few weeks with a number of high-profile job losses. This is the first time that the trade unions have stepped into the argument, which is ultimately based upon Scottish Independence, and publicly suggested that the Scottish executive should "get on with running Scotland".

The truth is that Scotland still receives a significant lump sum from total UK tax receipts and despite attempts to overhaul the so-called Barnett formula, per person Scotland is better funded than England. The more the Scottish executive tries to belittle the rest of the UK the more pressure they will feel in their pocket as new budgets and new spending programs are announced - issues which are still controlled by the UK Parliament.

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