THE issue of in-work poverty is very important, and work should be a route out of poverty.

When people ask me about my experiences at foodbanks, they are often surprised to learn that many of those in need of assistance are in work, and some of them even have two jobs, but they are struggling to make ends meet on a very low wage.

Last week was Living Wage Week, and I was pleased to take part in a panel debate as part of the Living Wage Forum at Standard Life, alongside Glasgow MSP Johann Lamont.

The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK, and means people are paid a wage that allows them to provide for themselves and their families.

The current Living Wage is £7.85, which is higher than the National Minimum Wage.

The Scottish Government recognises the real difference the Living Wage can make to the people of Scotland, and supports the Living Wage campaign.

Through funding provided to the Poverty Alliance, the number of employers paying the Living Wage in Scotland has tripled in the last six months.

All staff employed by the Scottish Government and employers subject to its pay policy earn above the Living Wage and have done for five years, and the Scottish Government is encouraging its suppliers to pay their staff the Living Wage.

Last month the Scottish Government awarded a new catering contract which guarantees all staff working on this contract are paid the Living Wage.

We are also encouraging the private sector and businesses to support the Living Wage, such as Standard Life, who pays a living wage to its workforce of more than 5000 people.

Ethical practices in the financial services is a part of our history and tradition: we just have to look back at great historical figures such as Reverend Henry Duncan, who opened the first savings bank for the poor in the early 19th century.

The Scottish Government is committed to do more on this issue, and the dialogue continues with the EU to allow us to do more within procurement legislation to promote the Living Wage.

Currently EU restrictions stop the Scottish Government being able to make this a mandatory requirement in a public tendering process.

TOMORROW, November 11, is Remembrance Day, where people recognise the great sacrifice made by those who fought in the Great War.

It is also a time to remember the sacrifices of those who have given their lives in conflicts since the Great War.

While I may not agree with every conflict that the UK participates in - I was a vocal campaigner against the war in Iraq in 2003 - it is the politicians and political institutions that choose to send our sons and daughters to war who carry the blame for the consequences, as opposed to our brave armed forces.

Buying a poppy and supporting the Scottish Poppy Appeal means that members of the Armed Forces who have been injured or maimed in conflict are given the support and help that they deserve and need, and that the families of those in the Armed Forces are also supported when their loved ones are away on active duty.