Indyref: cash boost for 150,000 in minimum pay pledge

ABOUT 150,000 people could see their pay increase if there is a Yes vote in the referendum, claims the SNP.

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The party has again said that if Scotland becomes independent it will set up a commission to consider a new minimum wage that will rise at least in line with inflation.

The pledge was first made by First Minister Alex Salmond at the SNP conference last year.

The party says its analysis found about 150,000 Scots, or just under 7% of the workforce, will be earning the UK national minimum wage in October, when the rate is due to increase to £6.50.

The wage has failed to keep up with the cost of living since 2008, says the party.

MSP Christina McKelvie, convener of the SNP Parliamentary trade union group, said a Yes vote would ensure low-paid workers "earn a fair day's pay for a fair day's work".

She said: "Scotland is one of the richest countries in the world - and yet the latest figures show the number of people living in poverty is increasing, with a million Scots now living below the breadline.

"We know one of the key drivers of poverty is earnings, which is why we would use the powers of independence to set a Scottish Minimum Wage guarantee. A minimum wage that rises - at the very least - in line with inflation.

"The Scottish Government is already using the limited powers it has to take steps to help those on the lowest incomes, such as supporting the Scottish Living Wage of £7.45 per hour. But with independence we would have improved wages for all our workers, not just those under the responsibility of government."

The SNP said if inflation increases had been introduced five years ago, low-paid Scots would have been up to £675 better off.

An expert group set up by the Scottish Government to examine welfare under independence has recommended the minimum wage be brought up to the same level as the living wage, which is £7.65 an hour.

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