MSP defends public services in first speech

NEW Lothians Labour MSP Neil Findlay used his maiden speech in the Scottish Parliament to call for a defence of public services.

He told MSPs: "Over the past 18 years, as a housing official, a teacher and a councillor I have witnessed the vital role that good public services play in maintaining and developing a civilised society.

"Today the public services which we often take for granted are in imminent danger as a result of the bankers' recklessness and greed."

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He recalled that under the last Tory Westminster government, some parts of West Lothian had unemployment of 26 per cent. "Twenty five years later, we see our young people in the firing line again, denied access to training, apprenticeships and real jobs.

"We have to give people hope. This can only happen by investing in our communities and public services."

He urged the Scottish Government to introduce the 7.15 living wage across the public sector and said it should also be highlighting Scottish companies involved in the "global scandal" of corporate tax evasion, supporting a Robin Hood tax on "useless speculation" and setting up a high wage commission to look at excessive pay and bonuses.