Curran Underlines Wage Change Claim

13 November 2014, 06:08 | Updated: 13 November 2014, 06:39

About 100,000 people in Scotland would benefit from plans to increase the minimum wage if a Labour government is elected next May, according to the Shadow Scottish Secretary.

Margaret Curran MP will say a pledge by Labour leader Ed Miliband to raise the minimum wage to £8 an hour by 2020 would give low-paid workers an average boost of £60 a week.

Speaking on a visit to Edinburgh, she will also highlight the party's Make Work Pay initiative to give businesses an incentive to pay the living wage - currently £7.85 outwith London.

Firms that commit to doing so at the start of the next parliament will receive a 12-month tax rebate of up to £1,000 for every worker who gets a pay rise, she will say.

Ms Curran is expected to say: "People who go out and work hard deserve a decent income.

"That's why we created the minimum wage and that's why the next Labour government will strengthen it, giving a pay rise to 100,000 low-paid Scots.

"We'll go even further by offering an incentive to firms that sign up to pay their staff the living wage.

"Since the financial crisis, working people have been hit the hardest and the recovery is only working for the few at the top.

"Labour will make sure that those with broadest shoulders pay their fair share and working people are rewarded for hard work.

"Under David Cameron, people across Scotland have got worse off and the SNP have no answers about what they will do to help hard-working people across Scotland. Only Labour will make Scots better off.''

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Tackling low pay is a key priority of the Scottish Government. We recognise the real difference the Living Wage makes to the people of Scotland, which is why we are the first Scottish Government ever to pay the Living Wage to all employees covered by pay policy.

"The new rate of £7.85 will apply from 1 April 2015 as part of 2015-16 pay settlements.

"We are firmly of the view that employers should reward their staff fairly and encourage businesses throughout the country to support the Living Wage. This is why we are funding a pilot by the Poverty Alliance. The promotional campaign to encourage take-up of the Living Wage accreditation scheme is rolling out over 2014/15 and has already seen the number of accredited employers triple from 20 to 60 since April 2014.''