Recently I joined with party colleagues in calling for the Scottish Government to use their spending power to deliver the living wage for workers in Fife and across Scotland.
The call followed a debate in the Scottish Parliament which will change the way public contracts are handed out to private companies; covering goods and services from the provision of stationary to the delivery of major capital projects, such as the Queensferry Crossing.
Public sector procurement is worth at least £9 billion a year in Scotland and the Scottish Labour Party has called for those employed in these contracts to be paid the living wage, set at £7.45 an hour.
It was the Labour Party that brought forward the minimum wage, against opposition, and it is Scottish Labour that is now leading the way in calling for the living wage. The Scottish Labour Party will now be bringing forward an amendment to encourage the promotion of the living wage in the bill. Previously other parties have indicated they support the living wage, they should do so again and support the amendment.
The difference between someone in full time work on the living wage compared to the minimum wage in Fife could be over £2,000 a year. Whilst this would only be a drop in the ocean against the billions spent on these contracts it would be a huge difference for families up and down the country facing a cost of living crisis.
The living wage is supported by a number of organisations including the Scottish Trade Union Congress, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, Enough Food for Everyone IF and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland.
This is a chance to build a better, fairer Scotland, protect our communities, and strengthen our economy. The Scottish Government must not miss this opportunity to improve the conditions of working people here in Fife.