Jeremy Corbyn’s pay cap called ‘interesting’ by Scottish Labour

Jeremy Corbyn today called for a maximum wage . Picture: PA
Jeremy Corbyn today called for a maximum wage . Picture: PA
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Scottish Labour deputy leader Alex Rowley has potentially put the party north of the border at odds with Jeremy Corbyn on migration and calls for a pay cap.

Mr Rowley described the UK Labour leader’s call for a limit on maximum earnings as “interesting” but failed to say if the party in Scotland - which has the power to determine its own policies - supports the move.

Meanwhile, on Europe, Mr Rowley stressed it was important “not to restrict freedom of movement”.

His comments came as Mr Corbyn was expected to use a major speech on Brexit to set out plans to prevent cheap migrant labour from the European Union (EU) undercutting British workers.

READ MORE: Scottish Labour calls for ‘honest debate’ over council funding

Mr Rowley said: “In terms of Brexit, I think it is important we do have a discussion about what Brexit actually means and what are the options, and how do we move forward.

“Our position in Scotland is we understand where people have concerns about a lack of housing, a lack of being able to get an appointment with your GP, but what we say is the answer to that is not to restrict freedom of movement, but the answer to that is to invest in public services.”

Labour in Scotland is calling for an “honest debate about what kind of public services we want”, Mr Rowley added.

He said: “We seem to have got into a situation as a society where we don’t want to pay for public services, but when those public services start to fail the very people that should be helping look to blame others.

“The answer to the failure of public services is not to restrict freedom of movement, it is to invest in those public services, and that’s what the Scottish Labour Party is setting out today.”

On the issue of pay, Mr Corbyn argued for a maximum earnings limit brought in “because I think that would be a fairer thing to do”.

The UK Labour leader said: “’We cannot set ourselves up as being a sort of grossly unequal, bargain-basement economy on the shores of Europe.

‘’We have to be something that is more egalitarian, gives real opportunities to everybody and properly funds our public services.’’

When asked if Scottish Labour was on the “same page”, Mr Rowley responded: “In terms of a wage cap, it’s an interesting discussion.”

While he said the gap between high earners and those at the bottom of the pay scale had “grown incredibly over a period of years”, Mr Rowley added: “What we’re saying here is we would use the powers of the Scottish Parliament and those who earn more, pay more, that’s the policy of the Scottish Labour Party.”

Mr Rowley spoke out as he launched Scottish Labour’s “vision for local government” ahead of crucial council elections in May.

The former leader of Fife council will head up the campaign, which will be a key contest for Labour after it slipped behind the Tories to become the third largest party at Holyrood in 2016.