Monday 22nd March 2015


Where there is the political will, change can be achieved. And one issue where change is needed more than ever is poor pay.

This was the subject of Parliamentary debate last week and is a big issue for people here in Inverclyde.

It is estimated that nearly twenty per cent of local residents are income deprived and statistics published last October revealed that seven thousand jobs in the area pay less than the Living Wage.

Action is needed in this area for two main reasons. First, fair pay has an important role to play in lifting people out of in-work poverty.

As it stands, the combination of low wages, job uncertainty and a huge rise in the cost of living are making it extremely difficult for people to get by.

Second, it is a vital ingredient for creating a stronger economy. Better pay helps to motivate the workforce and increase productivity in the workplace.

Talking about change is easy, but actually making it happen is the tough part.

Above all else there needs to be a redistribution of the wealth in Scotland through progressive taxation. A recent study found that the richest 10% of households in Scotland have 900 times the accumulated wealth of the poorest 10%.

We also need to ensure that all workers on public contracts are paid the Living Wage. The Scottish Government has the power to achieve this but it has failed to do so up to now.

Politicians in Scotland and in England have a moral duty to act. We can abdicate responsibility, turn our backs and let the plight of working people go on.

Or we can show the political will and create change so that people in Scotland get a fair days pay for a day’s work.