FMQs: Sturgeon under fire over record on women

The FM was accused of failing to back up her words with actions. Picture: John Devlin
The FM was accused of failing to back up her words with actions. Picture: John Devlin
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NICOLA Sturgeon today came under fire over her record on women’s issues amid claims that more than a quarter of a million are stuck on low pay in Scotland.

Labour Deputy leader Kezia Dugdale also told MSPs that tens of thousands of women’s colleges places have been cut under the SNP - while just 68 have taken up engineering apprenticeships.

But Ms Sturgeon insisted Labour have resisted all attempts to devolve employment legislation during heated exchanges at First Ministers questions today after the party “linked arms with the Tories” in the referendum debate.

The clash came ahead of International Women’s day on Sunday.

Ms Dugdale said there are 85,656 fewer women going to college in Scotland since the SNP took office in 2007, while just 68 started an engineering apprenticeship last year. In addition, there are 264,000 women in Scotland earning less than the living wage.

Ms Dugdale said: “Just saying you are for gender equality doesn’t make it so.

“Hundreds of thousands of women in Scotland applauded when the First Minister walked through the front door of Bute House, but they are already wondering what difference it will make.”

But the First Minister said that 14,000 more students successfully completed courses last year leading to qualifications in Scotland than five years ago.

“We are delivering on providing the opportunities that women, that young people across Scotland need,” she said.

The First Minister said Labour’s shortcomings is behind its lowly poll showing in Scotland, after a survey by Lord Ashcroft today suggested Labour would be left with just four Scottish MPs in the May election.

“We will get on with delivering, making sure that we are providing opportunities, making sure that we are extending the living wage in a way that Labour never ever did,” she said.

“It’s because people see this Government delivering that people right across our country, whether they are men or women, are opting to support the SNP and have left Labour languishing in an obviously very very desperate position.”