Labour dodge big questions on public sector pay

The SNP today said the Scottish government’s pay policy gave significant extra support to low paid workers as Labour showed they have no answer on what to do with public sector pay, after a Labour front-bencher ducked questions from audience members during a radio debate.

On BBC Scotland’s Brian’s Big Debate this afternoon, Labour Chief Whip James Kelly persistently refused to state what Labour would do differently on the issue of public sector pay rises.

To provide a better deal for low paid public sector workers the Scottish Government’s pay policy prioritises those on low incomes with a firm commitment to pay the Scottish Living Wage and no cap on those earning less than £21,000 - all of whom are guaranteed at least £250 – or more than 1%.

Commenting, SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn said:

“Labour are making lots of noise on public sector pay but they aren’t offering any alternatives. It’s no wonder that Ed Balls was heckled at the TUC conference.

“What Labour won’t tell you is that the big difference between Scotland and Westminster is that the Scottish Government is able to offer public sector staff a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies.

“And they won’t tell you that the SNP have ensured those on low incomes get a better deal than everyone else, targeting pay rises of more than 1% at those on less than £21,000. Delivering extra support for a third of those workers affected.

“And of course, the living wage is now being delivered across the Scottish Government and in the NHS, with two thirds of local authorities now delivering or committed to the living wage.

“Instead of suggesting practical ways in which we can support our public services and help protect those on low incomes, Labour are joined at the hip with the Tory Government in Westminster, implementing cuts on our budget which – as Alistair Darling promised - are deeper and tougher than those of Margaret Thatcher.”