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Living wage commitment strengthened

Amendments to Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill proposed.

The Scottish Government is to propose two important amendments to the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill that will further strengthen its commitment to the living wage, the Deputy First Minister has announced in a parliamentary debate.

The Bill already contains provisions which will allow the Scottish Government to issue statutory guidance on workforce matters - which would include remuneration - in procurement. The first amendment announced by the Deputy First Minister will put an explicit reference to the living wage on the face of the Bill and make it clear that one of the factors that authorities will require to evaluate, where it is relevant to the performance of the contract, is a contractor's approach to pay and the living wage.

This means that for contracts where low pay is traditionally an issue, bidding companies will have their approach to managing, rewarding and engaging with their workforce, including payment of the living wage, evaluated as part of the procurement process.

The second amendment will require public authorities to set out, in their procurement strategies, what their policy is in relation to ensuring that the companies they contract with pay the living wage.

These amendments will strengthen the Bill and help to ensure that payment of the living wage gets the priority it deserves – but without breaching EU law.

Ms Sturgeon said:

“The proposed amendments to the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill highlight this Government’s commitment to doing as much as possible to tackle pay inequality.

“We are the first Scottish Government ever to pay the living wage to all of our employees and to everyone who works in the NHS.

“Our proposed changes will send a very powerful message to businesses wanting to work on public sector contracts that they will have to demonstrate how they reward and motivate staff.

"Our hands are tied by EU legislation in relation to making the living wage a mandatory condition of contract. However, we can ensure the procurement processes encourage and support payment of the living wage and that is exactly what the Bill will do.

“With independence, we will also be able to ensure that the National Minimum Wage rises every year, at least in line with inflation and never again falls behind the cost of living, as it has done every year since 2008.”

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