Clause 24 — Universal credit: costs of claimants who rent accommodation

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:45 pm on 30th June 2015.

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Photo of Eilidh Whiteford Eilidh Whiteford Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Social Justice and Welfare) 2:45 pm, 30th June 2015

The hon. Lady is mistaken. The procurement legislation was hampered by EU legislation. In recent public sector contracts, however, the Scottish Government have started to integrate living wage requirements from the outset. In fact, all the people for whom the Scottish Government are now responsible are on a living wage. There remain many challenges with contracted-out services, particularly at local authority level, but we are trying hard to move towards a living wage in all parts of the public sector. In recent months, we have also made real progress in making sure that private sector employers move towards a living wage. After all, most low-paid jobs are found in the private sector. We need the power to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. When people on low incomes have money in their pockets, they spend it, thereby boosting and strengthening the economy and creating jobs. We saw that when the minimum wage was introduced.

It is incumbent on everyone in the House to listen to the voices of people in Scotland who have put their heads above the parapet on this issue, because they are some of Scotland’s largest and most influential civil society organisations: Citizens Advice Scotland, Barnardo’s Scotland, the Child Poverty Action Group Scotland, the Church of Scotland, Inclusion Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland, Oxfam Scotland, the Poverty Alliance, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Shelter Scotland, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, the Trussell Trust and last, but by no means least, the Scottish Trades Union Congress. The veto in the Scotland Bill is a barrier to responsive and responsible governance in Scotland.