This week local MSP Jackie Baillie told Scotland’s Living Wage Summit that a wage rise for Scotland’s lowest-paid workers would save £100 million in welfare.
The summit, chaired by Jackie Baillie MSP, brought together representatives from trades unions, business leaders, the third sector and anti-poverty groups to discuss ways to lift thousands of Scots out of low pay.
Over 400,000 Scots are paid less than the living wage, including 6,000 people in West Dunbartonshire and 6,000 people in Argyll and Bute. Scottish Labour’s plans for Make Work Pay contracts would save an average of £232 per person in social security spending.
That means a pay rise for Scotland’s low paid workers could save almost £100 million from the welfare bill.
The local MSP will also co-chair a Low Pay Commission established by Scottish Labour and made up of representatives from anti-poverty organisations and business, which will report later this year on how to end low pay in Scotland.
In November, the SNP committed to prioritising the Living Wage in establishing a Fair Work Convention. Where the SNP have failed to make progress in meeting their commitment made in the Programme for Government, Scottish Labour is taking action.
“With almost one in five of my constituents earning less than the living wage, I am determined to work with trade unions, employers and anti-poverty groups to end the scandal of low pay in Scotland.
“I believe that abolishing low pay is the most effective way to tackle poverty. By giving a pay rise to every low paid worker in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute we can give people a chance to get on in life while saving millions on welfare spending.
“That’s why I was delighted to be asked to co-chair a Low Pay Commission set up by Scottish Labour to look at ways in which businesses can help to build a fairer economy. Working together with firms and employees, Labour’s Make Work Pay contracts would mean more support for businesses and higher wages for low paid workers in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh