Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Gray would cut First Minister's pay

Iain Gray applauds Ed Miliband after the new party leader made his first speech to the Scottish Labour conference in Oban

Labour leader Iain Gray will pledge that he will take a pay cut if he becomes Scotland's next First Minister.

Mr Gray will commit to reducing the salary for the job by 5% if he succeeds Alex Salmond.

He will also tell his party's Scottish conference in Oban that a Labour administration would cut ministers' pay by the same amount.

The current SNP administration has frozen salaries for ministers. But Mr Gray will tell party activists he would go further than that.

"If I am elected First Minister, I will cut ministerial salaries by 5%, including my own," he will say.

"We want to see a reduction in pay at the highest level in the public sector and I want to lead from the front. That is why I will take a 5% cut and I commit my ministerial team to do likewise. A Scottish Labour government must lead by example."

The First Minister's current salary is £140,847, according to the Scottish Parliament.

As well as announcing plans to cut ministerial pay, Mr Gray will also use his speech on Saturday to reveal Labour's manifesto for the Holyrood election will include a commitment to provide an apprenticeship place for every qualified school leaver who wants one.

Mr Gray will concede that this "will be hard and not happen overnight". But he will add: "We will do what is hard because it is right."

He will say: "As leader of the opposition at Holyrood, I forced the SNP to sign up to fund an extra 20,000 apprenticeships. We now have to roll this opportunity out for all our young people who want one."

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