A Moray candidate for the UK election in May has said he will back local employers who are paying their staff a living wage on the day that the Green Party unveiled a key election pledge.
The UK Government this week approved a 20p per hour rise in the adult rate of the minimum wage along with a similar 3% rise in the lowest rate for younger workers.
However, the Scottish Greens have announced plans to raise the minimum wage to a single living wage for all of £7.85 – and for that to rise to £10 an hour by 2020.
The minimum wage commitment is a key part of the Scottish Greens plans for an economy built around people, which also includes measures to curb excessive pay and bonuses, and provide more support for small businesses and social enterprises.
Moray Greens Convenor and Westminster Candidate James MacKessack-Leitch welcomed the pledge insisting that it would relieve pressure on thousands of families who suffered from poverty.
Mr MacKessack-Leitch said: “Raising the minimum wage to a living wage would help create the more equal society Greens want to see.
“It’s a scandal that so many hard working people are in poverty, and that’s why Greens are campaigning for more local jobs with good wages, in contrast to the other parties who are jostling to give big business and polluting industries further tax breaks.
“In reality, the paltry increase offered by the UK Coalition won’t buy much more than a couple of coffees from a tax-dodging café chain over the course of a week, and will do nothing to encourage similar big employers, who see the minimum wage as a gold standard rather than a legal minimum, to invest in their workforce.
“We believe that it’s the small and medium-sized businesses, which play a key role in our communities, and who recognise the benefits of investing in the local workforce, that are the bedrock of Moray’s economy and we want to see them flourish.
“The living wage is good for our society, and good for the employees who make these companies successful. Only Green policies on jobs and wages can help realise Scotland’s potential.”
Also contesting the Moray seat in May’s election is Sean Morton from the Scottish Labour Party, Angus Robertson from the SNP and Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative Party candidate.