Scotland needs a pay rise. Hundreds of thousands of workers have had years of flat wages, while living costs soar.

A one per cent increase in your pay doesn’t go far when the price of food, travel and rent is rising faster than that.

That’s why Labour put scrapping the public sector pay cap imposed by the Tory and SNP governments at the heart of our election campaign. But we want to see wages lifted for all workers.

That’s why Labour support a £10-an-hour minimum wage across the UK and why we are pressing the SNP to use their powers to extend the living wage into more low-paid jobs in Scotland.

We need a real plan to boost wages and get more money in people’s pockets.

That’s the way to grow our struggling economy, from the foundations up.

Fifteen years ago this week, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown introduced tax credits in the most far-reaching social reform of our lifetime.

The policy has helped millions of families, including the equivalent of more than five million families in Scotland.

That’s the difference you get with Labour.

And contrast that with a Tory government, who would cut tax credits if they could, and an SNP Government so obsessed with independence that they have forgotten what really matters to people.

Fifteen years on, and Labour have a plan to get more money into people’s pockets again.

From boosting the minimum wage and banning zero-hour contracts across the UK, the next Labour Government – when they come – will ensure people have the security they need from work.

In Scotland, we want to invest in education and skills so workers can compete for the high-skill, higher-paid jobs of the future.

We want to use Holyrood’s new powers over social security to boost child benefit by £240 a year by the end of the decade. That move alone would lift tens of thousands of children out of poverty.

Far too much money that people are due from the state goes unclaimed in Scotland – £2billion of social security payments such as tax credits and housing benefits, according to the most recent data.

Labour would lead a drive to boost uptake so that everyone gets what they are entitled to.

The manifesto we stood on in the general election, which built on the most radical manifesto for Scotland that I unveiled last year, has the ability to transform society for the better.And we believe in keeping manifesto promises.

We all know about the Lib Dems’ broken promise on tuition fees in England, but let’s not forget the SNP’s pledge – 10 years ago now – to scrap the hated council tax.

While the Nationalists dither, we have a plan for a fairer model which would mean 80 per cent of households paying less. And we would tackle the cost of childcare by moving towards a more flexible model so childcare policy fits around the lives of working people, starting with a breakfast club in each school.

That’s the difference you get with Labour – a bold radical plan for the many, not the privileged few.


This article first appeared in the Daily Record newspaper on the 11th of July 2017

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