Cost of Living

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at on 20 April 2022.

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Photo of Tom Arthur Tom Arthur Scottish National Party

Given that most of the relevant powers are reserved, I agree that the UK Government must do more to help households to cope with the cost of living crisis. The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy wrote to the chancellor ahead of his spring statement with vital proposals to address the cost of living crisis using those reserved powers, including a call to reinstate the £20 universal credit uplift. However, they were largely ignored and the chancellor failed to take the opportunity to address the biggest challenges that are currently faced by households.

I also agree that all workers should be paid at least the real living wage. Having employment powers in the hands of the Scottish Parliament would enable us to protect and enhance workers’ rights, including by making the minimum wage a real living wage. We will continue to call on the UK Government to take action to devolve those crucial powers.

In the meantime, we are already using the powers that we have. On 14 October 2021, we began mandating payment of the real living wage in Scottish Government contracts, where it is a relevant and proportionate requirement. Through the Bute house agreement and subject to the limits of devolved competence, we will also make it a requirement that grant recipients pay at least the real living wage.