Swinney tells SGF event that an SNP government of an independent Scotland would push for at least £7.65 an hour
IN an independent Scotland where the current Holyrood administration took full powers the government would press to ensure minimum employee payments were at least at the rate of the “living wage”, Scottish cabinet secretary John Swinney told members of the SGF.
The living wage is a theoretical wage rate calculated by the Living Wage Foundation, said to provide a minimum income standard to meet household costs.
At SGF’s independence debate event last month, cabinet secretary for finance John Swinney MSP, made it clear that, in an independent Scotland, an SNP government would expect every industry sector to adopt the living wage, currently set at £7.65 per hour for workers outside of London.
In an event that saw Swinney interviewed on stage by BBC news radio presenter Gary Robertson and then answer a series of detailed questions from SGF retail and corporate members, the finance secretary also suggested that a new body, Revenue Scotland, would act to take the lead in combatting the illicit trade, using powers already granted to the Scottish Parliament by the Scotland Act.
Swinney also made it clear that he expects the UK government to eventually agree to a currency union and that an independent Scotland would obtain full EU membership relatively quickly and easily. Independence he insisted would not lead to higher interest rates in Scotland and mortgages, loans and credit card payments would not become more expensive.
After the event SGF chief executive John Drummond said the organisation has serious concerns about the effect of the living wage on its members and their staff.
“Convenience store retailers simply could not absorb this additional cost and it will inevitably lead to job losses,” he said.
“Mr Swinney has agreed to meet with us to discuss the issues raised at the referendum event and we will be restating our concerns and asking him to protect jobs.
“We are also asking the Scottish Parliament’s Economy Committee to look at Revenue Scotland and how effective it will be in tackling the illicit trade.”