Jim Murphy to launch Scots ‘living wage’ plan

UNDER pressure Labour leader Jim Murphy will today set out plans to tackle low pay among workers in Scotland.

Scottish Labour leader insisted the 400,000 Scots workers earning less deserved better. Picture: John Devlin
Scottish Labour leader insisted the 400,000 Scots workers earning less deserved better. Picture: John Devlin

He is pledging to use “Make Work Pay” contracts to help ensure private firms pay the living wage of £7.85 an hour amid growing concerns that about 400,000 Scots who are paid below this. Mr Murphy will announce the party’s business bonus at New College, Lanarkshire. Research shows that better pay can lead to a 25 per cent fall in absenteeism and 80 per cent of employers find it has enhanced the quality of the work of their staff.

He said: “Scots deserve more than the bare minimum in their pay-packet.

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“Too many Scots are one unexpected bill away from being in real trouble. Low pay is a moral scandal in our country and it is also holding our economy back.

“[Our] plan to extend the living wage could lift thousands of Scots out of low pay.”

The current minimum wage is £6.50 but Labour has pledged to increase this to £8.

But Mr Murphy wants to see firms move towards a living wage in the meantime.

“We will use make work pay contracts to incentivise better pay for staff – and better performance for business,” Mr Murphy said.

“We need to extend the living wage further into the private sector where the low paying jobs are. People on low pay don’t need warm words from politicians, they need a plan of action.”

The SNP government currently funds a Living Wage Accreditation scheme in Scotland, run by the Poverty Alliance, which has more than 100 firms on board paying this benchmark, benefiting more than 100,000 employees. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it can make a “real difference” to working people in Scotland.

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