Living Wage

One of the biggest achievements of the Labour Government was to introduce the National Minimum Wage which gave more than one million workers an average pay rise of twelve percent.

 But 15 years have passed since this landmark piece of legislation and for many people times have changed for the worse.  Austerity has led to working hours being slashed, increases in temporary and part-time work and the abominable zero hour contracts. To make matters worse, earnings have plummeted and the cost of living has gone through the roof.

 As a result, the fastest growing group in poverty are those in work. This is a challenge that politicians from all sides must address.  Part of the solution is to ensure that all workers are paid at least a living wage of £7.65.

 While people directly in the public sector are currently paid a living wage, those employed by companies on public sector contracts are offered no such guarantee.  Currently there are still four-hundred thousand people in Scotland who are working for less than the living wage.

 Given that Scotland’s public sector spends approximately £10 billion on procurement every year is it not reasonable that this spending power be used to deliver better wages for working people?

 A living wage would boost the earnings of a full-time minimum wage worker by over £2,600 a year. It also has the potential to increase productivity, reduce staff turnover and improve skills in the workplace. Further, if people have more money in their pockets, the more they will spend, and as a result, more money will be put back into the local economy.

 Given that the majority of politicians’ support a living wage for all workers. And given the Scottish Parliament has the powers to achieve this. It’s time to make work pay.