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[ 27-05-2015 ]

Commenting on the launch of the Scottish Government’s Scottish Business Pledge, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:


“The success of the Scottish Government’s Scottish Business Pledge will be in how it supports those businesses that currently fall short of meeting its criteria.  Whilst 81% employees in Scotland are already earning the Living Wage or above, there are some businesses which, whilst meeting their legal requirements under the minimum wage, currently cannot afford to pay the higher Living Wage to all staff, based on their existing business models.  This can be dependent upon the size of the business and the market they are operating in and we need to be careful that this is not mis-interpreted as a lack of commitment on their part.


“The values contained within the Government’s Business Pledge are a broad statement of intent and must be interpreted as such.  We share all of these values and absolutely recognise the need to promote greater moves towards internationalisation, innovation, gender balance and positive workplace practices, to name just a few.  Businesses are at the heart of communities right across our country and the objective of a prosperous and fair Scotland is, of course, one that we all share but some will need support to realise all of the aspects of the Pledge, including the central commitment to the Living Wage.


“This is not the time for any intervention which could result in an increase in business costs, affecting our competitiveness and potentially reducing employment rather than increasing it; therefore we welcome the voluntary nature of the Pledge.  However if it is to be a successful and inclusive initiative, then we need to see support aimed at those businesses who need time to develop their business models, ensuring they can continue to employ their existing employees, whilst working towards paying the Living Wage for all.  Perhaps this could be achieved through a commensurate reduction in employers’ national insurance contributions or through targeted additional relief on business rates.”