Raising minimum wage will help family budgets go further

Ahead of a debate in the Scottish Parliament, the SNP is today (Wednesday) pointing out the benefits of a Yes vote for hardworking families across Scotland.

With independence, Scotland’s lowest paid workers would be up to £675 a year better off as a result of proposals to raise the minimum wage at least in line with inflation.

According to research from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, this cash would help pay for 8 extra weeks of childcare, 13 weeks of groceries or 29 weeks of energy bills.

Commenting ahead of the debate, SNP MSP Christina McKelvie said: “If the minimum wage had increased with inflation for each of the past five years, people on the lowest wages would now be up to £675 a year better off.

“This money could help hard pressed families pay for an extra 8 weeks of childcare, 13 weeks of groceries or 29 weeks of energy bills.

“As Scotland’s Future sets out, with a Yes vote in September we will have the power to tackle low pay and start closing the gap between rich and poor. Plans to set up a Fair Work Commission will have a crucial role in ensuring Scotland becomes a more equal society.

“In contrast, Johann Lamont’s Cuts Commission is working to axe popular Scottish Government policies which offer real benefit to families. Free prescriptions, free tuition, concessionary travel and free personal care all face the axe under Labour – Johann Lamont must come clean and publish her cuts agenda.

“A Yes vote is a chance for real change. With a No vote, the only certainty we face is more austerity – George Osborne has already signed us up to further spending cuts of £25bn, which will place further pressure on families already squeezed by austerity."

Notes:

Scotland’s Future sets out how if the minimum wage had risen in line with inflation, the lowest paid people in Scotland would be better off by around £675 per year: http://82.113.138.107/00439021.pdf (p107)

A Labour debate on the Living Wage will be held in Parliament today (Wednesday).

Research from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre compared the £675 annual figure by which an individual on the minimum wage would be better off by if the minimum wage had increased in line with inflation over the past five years with typical weekly household spending on groceries, energy and childcare.

Typical spending is for households in Scotland.

Figures for food, energy and personal transport are averages across all households. The figure for childcare is an average figure for families with a 10 month old child who pay for childcare and represents the costs for that child only. The average cost across all households would be considerably lower since the majority of households will not have any childcare costs.

Weekly spending, Scotland:

       
 

Average weekly household expenditure (£)

Number of weeks covered by £675

Coverage

Food & non-alcoholic drinks

53

13

All households

Electricity, gas and other fuels

23

29

All households

Operation of personal transport

30

23

All households

Childcare

88

8

Families with a 10 month old child who are paying for childcare; cost for 10 month old child only