Gary Smith slammed Hollyrood and Westminster for failing Scotland
A predicted 160,000 job losses, a chronic manufacturing decline and biting austerity is letting the country down, according to the GMB Scotland union.
The damning assessment came as Nicola Sturgeon's administration faced a barrage of warnings from business leaders that any increase in income tax in today's Budget would be "highly dangerous" with retailers potentially facing a £475million loss in sales.
Addressing a Westminster committee, GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith said: "The Scottish economy is dangerously weak-it's no exaggeration to say we are teetering on the brink of an economic and employment crisis.
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"We've lost nearly 40,000 manufacturing jobs since 2007, over 40,000 local government jobs since 2010 and with the Fraser of Allander Institute warning of a further 80,000 job cuts, coupled with biting austerity across our local services, without intervention the future outlook is bleak."
He added: "Let's be clear that government at both Westminster and Holyrood is failing Scotland.
"There is no industrial strategy, no investment plan and no desire to take the bold decisions that will tackle this culture of decline management plaguing our politics."
Mr Smith pointed out that Scotland has lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs since 2007
Mr Smith's comments came at the Scottish Affairs Committee during an evidence session on sustainable employment in Scotland.
We've lost nearly 40,000 manufacturing jobs since 2007
GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith
Outlining a three-step plan to boost the economy, he suggested the Scottish Goverment introduce a jobs-boosting energy strategy that pursues shale gas and new nuclear and the UK Government invest in port facilities to assist the decommission of the offshore sector to help "revitalise regional economies".
He also called on both Governments to secure contracts for the construction of three Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) naval vessels across Scottish and UK yards.
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Mr Smith added: "The Scottish political elite has to get real and step out of the bubble. Stop playing fast and loose on employment and get focused on maximising every opportunity we have to turn around what is becoming a sorry state of affairs."
Bosses from the Unite union, Scottish Building Federation, Scottish Retail Consortium and Macdonald Hotels also gave evidence.
The criticism came ahead of today's stage one vote on the Scottish Budget-the first in which Holyrood is able to take advantage of newly-devolved powers over income tax rates and bands.
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay must secure the backing of at least one other party for the minority administration's plans to be pushed through.
It is already known that Scotland will become the highest taxed part of the UK as the SNP has refused to follow Westminster's lead and raise the earnings threshold for the higher 40p tax rate from its current level of £43,000 to £45,000.
Nicola Sturgeon was warned today not to increase income tax any further
However, the Greens were demanding additional "meaningful" income tax increases be introduced in exchange for their support.
But last night, the party backtracked and indicated they will not bring down the Budget after business leaders slammed the suggested rise.
Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chamber of Commerce, said: "Such a move could prove to be highly dangerous at a time where Scotland's economy is growing at a third of the rate of the UK as a whole.
"The sooner our politicians realise that supporting economic growth, rather than hiking up taxes, is the route towards increasing revenues and improving investment in key services, the quicker Scotland will prosper."
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Nicola Sturgeon visits Glaxo Smith Kline.
Her comments came as the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) warned that a one pence increase across all existing tax bands would remove £475m from consumers' pockets with struggling retailers bearing the brunt.
Last night, Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said his party was willing to "constructively" discuss the Budget with the SNP-but only if it dropped its plans to make the country the highest taxed part of the UK.
He said: "It's the most significant budget in Scottish Parliament history, and we don't believe Mr Mackay should side with other opposition parties in hiking taxes for workers and businesses.
"Instead, he should come round to the idea that by lowering taxes – or at least keeping them in line with the rest of Britain's – he will boost the tax base, and help the economy in the process."
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