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I welcome the findings of the Resolution Foundation in the report that it published yesterday—particularly the finding that pay has risen faster in Scotland than in any other nation or region in the United Kingdom. I am proud that this Government’s commitment to the living wage means that 80 per cent of people in Scotland are paid at least the living wage. As I just said, there are more than 400 living wage accredited employers. The rise in pay in Scotland will have contributed to one of the other findings of the report, which is that household incomes in Scotland fell by less than the UK average during the recession.
That is good progress, but there is much work still to do. The Resolution Foundation gives us valuable analysis in ensuring that we continue to build on progress.
I was pleased to see the statistics on employment yesterday which, along with the Resolution Foundation’s report, show that Scotland has the highest wages among the countries of the UK. Scotland is clearly showing that we can tackle inequalities and grow the economy. What action will the First Minister take to build on that good foundation, to increase jobs and wages?
Roderick Campbell is right to note the progress on wages and employment this week. I take this opportunity to welcome yesterday’s figures, which show a rise in employment in Scotland to record levels, and a substantial drop in unemployment.
That is all progress, but there is no room for complacency, which is why we are working to do more on employment and wages. Our economic strategy sets out our mutually supportive goals of increasing competitiveness and tackling inequality, and we will continue to support the living wage accreditation scheme and the work of the fair work convention to make sure that, as employment continues to increase in Scotland, it is in fair work in which people who do a decent day’s work get a decent day’s wage in return.