MSP launches Living Wage Bill to help low-paid contract workers

Bank notes The Labour MSP says the bill would help families suffering from "in-work poverty"

Related Stories

A Labour MSP is trying to change the law to force private companies who work for public organisations to pay their staff a so called "living wage."

John Park said the change would help hundreds of thousands of families.

Staff who work directly for the Scottish government have been paid a living wage of at least £7.20 a hour since last year.

Mr Park wants that guarantee to be extended to those who work for private firms contracted to the government.

The MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, who is launching a consultaion on his Living Wage (Scotland) Bill, said he has the backing of trade unions and child poverty campaigners.

He said more than £9bn is spent annually by the public sector in Scotland procuring goods and services from the private sector, however, in 2011, 28% of private sector employees were paid less than £7.20 an hour.

Mr Park said: "Six out of 10 Scots children live in families suffering from in-work poverty.

"We have seen a commitment from a range of public sector bodies to pay their employees the lliving wage but I believe we must go further.

"I believe that if we do not take action on this issue then we are letting down thousands of low-paid, hard-working Scots."

But there is a question over whether it is legal to force a living wage as a condition of any public contracts.

Ministers have been advised it would breach European Union law. However, Mr Park said he has legal advice which says it would not.

The consultation on his proposals is due to run until December.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Scotland politics stories


Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage

  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world

  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach – why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.