Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News




Moray’s MP Angus Robertson says the UK Tory Government must do much more to promote the real, independently set, Living Wage after it was revealed that they have “no budget” for its promotion – but have spent £4.5 million promoting George Osborne’s so-called National ‘Living Wage’.

In response to a freedom of information request the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has stated that the budget allocated to promoting their enhancement to the Minimum Wage for over 25s (the so-called National ‘Living Wage’) is £4.5 million – while there is ‘no budget’ allocated to the real Living Wage.

In contrast, the Scottish Government funds the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Scheme and plans to double the number of accredited employers from 500 to 1000 by autumn 2017. As part of a £250 million package of funding for the delivery of health and social care services, local authorities have also been provided funding to extend the Living Wage to all care workers from October this year.

The independently set Scottish Living Wage is currently £8.25 per hour, while the Tory government’s so-called National ‘Living Wage’ is £7.20.

Public Sector organisations such as SEPA, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Water are accredited Living Wage employers, alongside private sector companies operating in Moray such as Gordon & MacPhail, the Royal Bank of Scotland and SSE.

Commenting Moray’s MP Angus Robertson said:

“I have long argued the case that our economy across the whole UK needs a gear change to lift up basic living standards by paying the real, independently calculated Living Wage.

“Instead what we have now is the UK Tory Government promoting their own so-called ‘National Living Wage’, which is nothing more than a cynical attempt to hijack the Living Wage. While they are spending millions promoting a pay level that is still over a pound an hour less than is needed, they’re not lifting a finger to promote the true Living Wage.

“Here in Moray our public sector employees are earning at least the Living Wage, with funding in place to extend that coverage to all care workers from October this year.

“The SNP in Government has ambitious plans to double the number of Living Wage accredited employers to 1,000.

“In the private sector, Gordon and MacPhail is an example of a company in Moray that is an Accredited Living Wage Employer in the scheme and other major companies such as Scottish Water, SSE and RBS have significant numbers of employees across Moray.

“There are many other employers in Moray who are already paying a Living Wage and I would urge them to seek accreditation, which not only demonstrates their attractiveness as an employer but sets a great example for other employers to follow suit.”

“In Scotland we are pressing ahead doing all that we can to make the Living Wage the basic norm in employment and at Westminster we will continue to press the UK Government to match that ambition instead of pushing a half-hearted, halfway house that is their current policy. Scotland is doing better while the UK is very much a must do better.”