A new report by the independent Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has exposed the scandal of low pay in Dumfries and Galloway.

The report shows that Dumfries and Galloway is the worst area in Scotland for employees earning below than the living wage.

The report states that “Dumfries and Galloway has the highest proportion of employees earning below the Living Wage.”

30.7% of all employees in the region are being paid under the ‘real’ Living Wage which was £8.25 per hour at the time of the survey (the Living Wage has since increased to £8.45 per hour from November 2016).

This figures come despite the flagship Scottish Government ‘Business Pledge’ which aimed to grow the number businesses paying the Living Wage.

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) report showed that the number of Scots paid less than the real living wage has increased by 7,000 in the past year, with Dumfries and Galloway growing the number of people paid under the living wage by over 1,000 in the last year alone, to more than 18,000.

Commenting on the figures South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said:

“This expert analysis shows that more than 18,000 people across Dumfries and Galloway are being paid below the Living Wage and that is a scandal. The fact that the number has increased by over a 1,000 in the past year shows the failure of the SNP Scottish Government and the Conservative UK Government to properly support businesses in the region so they can afford to pay decent wages. The reality is there is no future for our local economy as  a low wage, low skill economy. We need a long term industrial strategy for the region to create the high paid jobs of the future. For Dumfries and Galloway to sit bottom of the table highlights just how little attention Government’s at UK and Scottish level are giving to people on low wages in our area. We need real investment in our communities to bring well paid jobs to our region”.

The Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Ronnie Nicholson said the figures vindicated the decision of the Council to pay the Living Wage. Ronnie Nicholson said:

“One of the reason I was so passionate about Dumfries and Galloway Council becoming a Living Wage accredited council, the first ever in Scotland, was because the region suffered such appalling levels of low pay. Not only does that decision mean we pay the Living Wage to our own employees but we have put in place a plan that will mean companies who do business with the Council will need to pay the Living Wage. For example, from 1 October all companies that provide social care for adults who have contracts with the council have to pay the Living Wage, and that has been a huge boost for thousands of care workers across the region. This report however shows that the council cannot tackle the problem on its own. There will be some who can afford to pay it but choose not to despite all the evidence pointing to the business benefits of paying the Living Wage. However, there will also be some businesses who genuinely cannot afford to and that’s why we need Government at both UK and Scottish level to do more support the local economy so all businesses can pay the Living Wage”.


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