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Labour pledges pay rise for workers under living wage plans

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said too many young people are struggling to get by because of low wages.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said young people are struggling because of low pay (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said young people are struggling because of low pay (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Almost half a million people in Scotland would get a pay rise under a Labour government, the party has claimed.

Under proposals to introduce a new £10 per hour real living wage, Scottish Labour estimates more than 130,000 workers aged between 18 and 24 who earned less than the living wage last year would benefit.

The party has also said that if elected, it would introduce a minimum income for students, free bus travel for the under 25s, ban zero-hours contracts and introduce a “Mary Barbour” law to control rent costs.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “Too many young people are struggling to get on in life because of low pay.

“How can a young person pay their rent, never mind save for a deposit for a house, when they are getting paid less than the living wage? This needs to end, and Labour will take action in government.

“Labour will transform the workplace by creating a £10-an-hour minimum wage, ending exploitative zero-hours contracts and extending free bus travel to everyone aged under 25.

“Labour will put more money in people’s pockets and bring real change to our economy so that it works for the many, not the few.”

A spokesman for fair work minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Labour have spent years opposing the devolution of employment powers to the Scottish Parliament, preferring instead to leave them in the hands of an austerity-driven UK Tory government.

“The idea that people in Scotland cannot have improvements to their lives until the rest of the UK agrees to vote for a Labour government is a con that Scottish Labour have been trying to sell for years.

“The SNP has put fair work and supporting young people at the heart of our work in government – and as a result Scotland has the highest proportion of living wage earners anywhere in the UK.

“Support provided to students in further education has increased by a third since Labour were last in power and we are also increasing the care-experienced bursary to £8,100 per year.

“We only have to look to Wales where Labour are the government to see what voting Labour actually means – fewer people earning the living wage than in Scotland, higher unemployment, students having to pay tuition fees and much more.”

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