Pressure mounts on Scottish Government over Amazon handouts

The Scottish Government is under fresh pressure over millions of pounds in taxpayers' cash handed to Amazon - without any obligation on the firm to pay a Living Wage.
Amazon says it pays more than the living wage. Picture: Getty ImagesAmazon says it pays more than the living wage. Picture: Getty Images
Amazon says it pays more than the living wage. Picture: Getty Images

The online retail giant has received £3.6 million of grant funding since 2007 to support its operations in Dunfermline, Edinburgh and Gourock.

Labour is now calling on the SNP to review its support for Amazon over low pay rates. The firm insists it meets the UK Government’s mandatory living wage requirement of £7.50 an hour.

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But Labour insists this falls short of the £8.45 Scottish Living Wage which Nicola Sturgeon has urged all firms in Scotland to meet.

Labour’s economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “The SNP Government must now review the support it is giving Amazon.

“Securing good quality, well paid jobs should be the best use of enterprise grants, not boosting the profit margins of global companies.”

But a spokesman for economy Secretary Keith Brown accused Labour of “jaw-dropping hypocrisy” claiming the party paid millions of pounds of public cash to Amazon while in office.

Amazon does not currently receive any taxpayer-funded grants in Scotland. MSPs at Holyrood have previously called for a review of the businesses support regime of Regional Selective Assistance (RSA), which hands millions of pounds in taxpayers’ cash to multinationals such as Amazon.

But economic development agency Scottish Enterprise said it was a taxpayer-funded grant which attracted Amazon to Fife, a jobless black spot in 2005.

“This led to additional investment by Amazon, including a follow-on, much larger, project in 2010, supported by SE, which created 685 new permanent full-time jobs,” a spokeswoman added.

Amazon stressed it pays all employees above the Government’s National Living Wage of £7.50 regardless of age.

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A spokesman said: “Amazon is proud to be a significant contributor to the economy in Scotland, including investing hundreds of millions of pounds in our Scottish operations over the past five years and providing 2,500 competitively paid permanent jobs at a range of sites including our development and customer service centres in Edinburgh and fulfilment centres in Gourock and Dunfermline.”