Lib Dems commit to ending government subsidies for low wage employers

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP will today said his party will put a stop to Scottish Government hand-outs to companies not paying their staff at least the Living Wage, as he looks to make Scotland a fairer place to work in.

Mr Rennie was due to meet staff at Amazon’s Dunfermline base today to discuss their working conditions but the meeting was cancelled at the last-minute by corporation bosses in London.

Since 2005, over £5 million was paid to Amazon, including almost £4 million of Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grants, through Scottish Enterprise, despite the corporation only paying staff £7.20 an hour.

Mr Rennie has said that one of Scottish Liberal Democrats’ manifesto commitments for May’s election will be to restrict business development funding, including RSA grants, to companies that pay the Scottish Living Wage of £8.25 an hour.

Speaking today on the pavement outside the depot Mr Rennie said:

“The national minimum wage is not nearly enough to cover life essentials and businesses should be paying their staff at least the Living Wage.

“The SNP Government claims to stand up for fair employment but what’s fair about dishing out millions to companies that pay low wages? There is a yawning gap between the SNPs rhetoric on low pay and their action to drive it out. 

"It is up to businesses to set pay rates but government should not be providing financial support to businesses who fail to pay the Living Wage.

"Massive corporations like Amazon should not be rewarded for their failures as employers.  The last minute decision to exclude me from the site confirms my worst concerns about the company.  They are clearly anxious that I will meet workers who may give less than glowing endorsements.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats will never dole out government bonuses to big businesses like Amazon that do not pay at least the Living Wage.

“Happy employees who are paid enough and valued for their work achieve so much more. They should not be trodden down by the companies that employ them. By reducing the extremes in wealth we will have a much fairer and more equal Scotland.”

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