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Councils get tough on living wage

This news post is about 10 years old

Local authority contractors will be evaluated by their ability to pay the living wage as part of the bidding process

All local authorities in Scotland will be made to ensure all contractors consider the living wage.

Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the Scottish Government is to make amendments the procurement reform (Scotland) bill to make local authorities include the living wage as part of their procurement processes.

These amendments should provide much needed clarity - Peter Kelly

The announcement came during a debate initiated by Labour MSP James Kelly on the living wage and procurement this week.

It means that for contracts where low pay is traditionally an issue, such as care contracts, bidding organisations will be subject to closer scrutiny as part of the procurement process.

The amendments will also require public authorities to set out, in their procurement strategies, what their policy is in relation to the companies they contract to pay the living wage.

The Scottish Living Wage Campaign said the move should make it clearer for public authorities and contractors what their policy is on the living wage.

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance and co-chair of the Scottish Living Wage Campaign, said it had long argued that there is a need to produce clear guidance on how the living wage can be included in procurement processes.

He added: “These amendments should provide much needed clarity.

“We hope that this move will ensure that many more workers in Scotland will receive the living wage, and that organisations benefiting from public money will need to do more to ensure they tackle low pay.”

The Scottish living wage was recently increased from £7.45 to £7.65.

Sturgeon said the SNP was the first Scottish Government to pay the living wage to all of its employees and to everyone who works in the NHS and its commitment was clear.

“Our proposed changes will send a very powerful message to businesses wanting to work on public sector contracts that they will have to demonstrate how they reward and motivate staff," she said.