Sturgeon speaks out against austerity and introduces new living wage pledge for Scotland

25 May 2015

Scotland’s first minister has criticised the ‘scale and speed’ of government cuts, stating that these would ‘slow economic recovery and make deficit reduction more difficult’.

The BBC reported that ‘Ms Sturgeon said David Cameron must either change his approach or find ways to lessen the impact on Scotland.’

In her speech, Sturgeon addressed business leaders in Scotland calling on them to sign up to the Scottish Business Pledge which promotes the living wage for all employees over 18 and fairer employment practices.

Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney later commented to BBC Radio Scotland that: ‘My priority is to get people into employment and then to make sure that as much of that employment as possible is high quality, productive employment, making a high-value contribution to our society.’

This news came in the same week as the ONS released figures suggesting that the quality of jobs in the UK has decreased for the first time in 20 years. The BBC reports in full.

Scottish Conservative enterprise spokesman Murdo Fraser MSP commented to the BBC that due to difficulties with low efficiency and low profits, many firms can not afford to pay the living wage. He suggested that ‘more incentives should be offered to businesses’ in the form of a reduction of business rates.

In her speech, Sturgeon also pledged to, ‘protect Scotland’s interests’ in the EU referendum, stating that the SNP would ‘propose a double majority meaning that exit from the European Union would only be possible if all four nations agreed to that.’ This, she said would ‘ensure that Scotland couldn’t be forced out of the European Union against our will’.

Inclusion’s upcoming convention Employability and Skills Scotland 2015, will bring together policy makers and practitioners from across Scotland and beyond to discuss the latest developments and future directions for Scotland’s employment and skills sectors.
The Guardian reports on Sturgeon’s speech, here.