Political Correspondent

More than a quarter of a million Scots are in insecure work or zero hours contracts, according to official figures.

The statistics from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre shows the huge number of people in jobs where they are nor certain of work from one week till the next.

Labour said it is proof of n economy reliant on low paid jobs that leaves workers insecure facing uncertain futures.

Much of the increase in employment in recent years has been in self-employment, but the figures show a large number ion Scotland who are self-employed are in low paid positions.

The figures showed the estimates of people in “low paid self-employment” to be 160,000.

There were 71,000 employed on a zero hours contract and 43,000 estimated to be in temporary work, excluding those on zero hours and fixed term contracts.

Across the UK the number of people in self-employment has been rising since the economic crash and recession of 2008.

Statistics show that since 2010 the number registered as self-employed has gone up from 4,021,000 to 4,081,000.

there has been an increase in younger workers self employed with the expansion of the so-called gig economy.

For workers aged 18 to 24 there has been an increase of18% from 152,000 to 179,000 since 2010.

for 25 to 34 year olds the rise was higher at 23%.

It rose from 614,000 to 758,000 over the period 2010 to 2016.

Jackie Baillie,Labour’s economy spokeswoman, said: “Too many jobs in Scotland are insecure, without guaranteed hours or income. That insecurity then flows through our economy holding it back – from the stress it puts on working people, to the pressure it puts on family finances.

“People can’t plan ahead if they don’t know what next month’s pay cheque will be – if it turns up at all.”

She warned that a new strategy was needed to move away from low skilled low pay benefitting companies at the expense of their workers and blamed the Scottish and Westminster governments for failing to take action to protect workers.

Ms Baillie added: “The reality is that, after a decade of SNP division and seven years of Tory despair, people are more likely to be working for poverty pay, with no guarantee that a job will keep their heads above water.”

Labour has criticised the handing of cash in government grants to firms that do not pay the real living wage and who use unscrupulous employment practices.

The SNP Government however, has backed the Scottish Living Wage campaign and encouraged firms to become accredited Living Wage employers.

So far in Scotland more than 1000 employers have been accredited as payers of the Living Wage, of £8.75 per hour, which is higher than the UK Government Living Wage of £7.20 and only payable to workers over the age of 25.

And Glasgow South SNP MP, Stewart McDonald has a bill to ban employers offering unpaid trail shifts

Labour however said it would take action to protect workers and ensure more people have access to secure better paid work.

Ms Baillie added: “The next Labour government will ban zero hours contracts, and we will press the SNP to stop handing taxpayer money, in the form of public contracts and grants, to companies who use them.”

Ms Baillie added: “But there is a wider issue here around the quality of jobs in our economy.

“We need a move towards high wage, high skill jobs that can only be delivered by a proper industrial strategy and an end to austerity.”