The Scottish Parliament today blocked Green calls for a £7 living wage across Scotland, starting with the Scottish public sector. (1) SNP, Tory and Lib Dem MSPs instead voted for a Lib Dem amendment which removed these key calls. The £7 per hour rate is the figure recommended by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and backed by the Poverty Alliance, who point out that one in five Scots working in the public sector do not receive this rate. (2)

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“All the other parties at Holyrood spoke out today against inequality, but then SNP, Tory and Lib Dem MSPs voted against the Green call for a £7 an hour national minimum wage. Far too many Scots still have to get by on wages below this basic level, including one in five of all public sector staff in Scotland, and it’s just not good enough. UK Ministers have let the minimum wage lag behind, and Scottish Ministers have no excuse for not ensuring every public sector worker in Scotland gets a wage they can live on.

“The economy is still struggling to get out of recession, a crisis caused by the irresponsibility of the bankers and the politicians who egged them on. In these tough times Greens believe it must not be those on the lowest incomes who pay for the recovery. Social justice and economic justice demand a living wage for all, funded by a mix of fairer taxation on high pay and on financial transactions. The other parties have today let down everyone in Scotland who wants a more equal society.”


1. The Scottish Greens moved the following motion today:

That the Scottish Parliament recognises that unacceptable levels of poverty and income inequality continue to blight Scotland; notes the income of the richest 10% of people in Scotland is approximately the same as the total income of the poorest 50%; further notes that, amongst working-age adults, in-work poverty is still on the increase; believes that a more equal society would be a happier, healthier, safer and greener society, and that this must become a core objective of Government at all levels; and therefore calls upon the UK Government to commit to the immediate introduction of a living wage for all set at £7 per hour; and upon Scottish Ministers to bring in this living wage for all public sector workers and employees of public sector contractors, and for this change to be funded by tackling high pay in the public sector and by fairer taxation on both high pay and financial transactions.

2. See:

Click to access SLWC%20FAQ%20May09FINAL.pdf

For their briefing on today’s debate, see: (pdf)