That was the view of Fochabers/Lhanbryde Labour councillor Sean Morton, who says that £3.8million would be available for businesses in Moray who choose to support the living wage for their staff.
Councillor Morton says that under Scottish Labour plans employers would receive a tax rebate of up to £1000 for every low paid worker who gets a pay rise. That would result in an average rebate of £445, meaning that if every low paid worker across Scotland was given the living wage, business would get a windfall of over £180million.
Councillor Morton, who is the Moray Labour candidate in the forthcoming UK General Election, said: “Low pay is a moral scandal in our country and it is also holding our economy back.
“Scottish Labour’s plan to extend the living wage could lift thousands of Scots out of low pay. We could give a pay rise to as many as 8000 workers in Moray alone.
“Local businesses will see a bonus too, with £3.8 million available for businesses in Moray.
“The research shows that absenteeism and staff turnover go down whilst performance and morale go up. It means a happier, more efficient workplace.”
Adding that many business in Scotland are not “turning over millions” but are on the sharp end of budgeting month to month, Cllr Morton said: “They might want to give a pay rise to their staff but the conditions are not right.
“That is why Scottish Labour has a plan to convince these businesses to pay the living wage. We will use make work pay contracts to incentivise better pay for staff – and better performance for business.
“When Scottish Labour tried to extend the living wage before the SNP Government in Edinburgh voted with the Tories to block our plans. The SNP were wrong to deny thousands of Scots a pay rise. Scottish Labour will not let these Scots down.
“In May Scotland can decide the general election. We can deliver a Labour Government that will make work pay – we can deliver a government which delivers a living wage.”
As well as Cllr Morton the Moray seat at May’s election is being contested by sitting SNP MP Angus Robertson, Green Party candidate James Mackessack-Leitch and Scottish Conservative candidate Cllr Douglas Ross.