Labour wage policy ‘will benefit 116,000 young Scots’

Jackie Baillie.  Picture: TSPL
Jackie Baillie. Picture: TSPL
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Labour proposals to increase the minimum wage and abolish the youth rate would benefit 116,000 young Scots, the party has said

It has set out plans to scrap the lower legal minimum rate for under-25s, and increase the minimum wage for all adults in line with the Real Living Wage.

Official figures estimate around 116,000 people in Scotland aged between 18 and 24 earned less than the current voluntary Real Living Wage of £8.75 last year.

At present those aged between 18 and 24 are entitled to a minimum hourly wage of up to £7.38, while the rate for those aged 25 and over is set at £7.83.

Labour has pledged to uprate the minimum wage for all adults to the level of the Real Living Wage of £10 an hour by 2020.

Scottish Labour’s economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “More than 116,000 young people would get a pay rise with Labour - and it is one that is desperately needed.

“For young workers in Scotland, the economy feels rigged against them, with low pay, insecure hours, soaring rents and expensive public transport.

“The SNP Government could start to lead the way on this - by ensuring that no company who receives public money pays less than the living wage.

“This is taxpayers’ cash and we should lay down the rules to make it work better for our young people and our economy.”

A spokesman for Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Labour have a cheek demanding that we do more to tackle low pay given that they fought tooth and nail with the Tories to stop powers over the minimum wage being devolved to the Scottish Parliament during the Smith Commission negotiations.

“Our aspiration is that all workers should be paid at least the Living Wage and we continue to promote fair pay and conditions through a number of fair working practices, including the business pledge, procurement, support for living wage accreditation and the Fair Work Convention.

“It is thanks to these and many other actions that a higher percentage of workers in Scotland are paid the Living Wage than in any other nation in the UK.”

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