Willie Rennie issues Living Wage challenge

Willie Rennie has challenged the other parties to commit to ending government bonuses for companies which fail to pay their employees the Scottish living wage.

He was speaking as the so-called living wage proposed by George Osborne came into force. The Tory living wage of £7.20 is £1.05 an hour less than the Scottish living wage of £8.25 an hour, which is calculated independently by the Living Wage Foundation. It’s also worth noting that the Scottish Liberal Democrats are the only party in Scotland to be accredited as Living Wage employers.

Last month, Willie called for the SNP to stop the payment of state aid to firms who fail to pay at least the national living wage.

Yesterday he broadened that challenge to all the other parties:

This sham Tory living wage is nothing of the sort. It highlights the need for all parties to ensure that people get a fair days pay for a fair days work.

Businesses right across Scotland are signing up to pay the real living wage and I am proud that the Scottish Liberal Democrats are a living wage employer. This is about ensuring employees are treated with the dignity they deserve.

What is also clear is that companies who are not responsible employers should not expect to be first in line for government bonuses. We have seen companies like Amazon receive millions in aid from the SNP government despite real concerns over working conditions at their Dunfermline plant.

The SNP Government claims to stand up for fair employment but what’s fair about dishing out millions to companies that pay low wages? There is a yawning gap between the SNPs rhetoric on low pay and their action to drive it out.

It is up to businesses to set pay rates but the principle here is simple. Government should not be providing large-scale financial support to businesses who fail to pay the living wage.

Liberal Democrats have been clear that we will never dole out government bonuses to big businesses that do not pay at least the living wage. Today I am challenging the other parties to match this commitment


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One Comment

  • Martin Land 3rd Apr '16 - 7:28am

    It would not be difficult to insert a clause in all new government contracts. Roosevelt did something similar to ensure African-American employment rights in WW2.
    But the Tories will always use their misunderstanding of free markets to avoid this type of action, failing to make markets free and FAIR.

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