James Kelly MSP

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Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 12 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 12, 2014
James Kelly (Rutherglen) (Lab)

I have a specific question about revenue overview, but I would just like to cover the issue of profitability. When the Government took over the airport, losses were running at £800,000 a month. What is the current position?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 12 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 12, 2014
James Kelly

The figures that you have provided indicate that the airport continues to run at a loss of at least £800,000 a month. That means that there must be a strong focus on increasing revenue.

Page 27 of the vision document deals with a revenue overview. Why are no financial data or analysis included in that revenue overview?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 12 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 12, 2014
James Kelly

Do you not accept that in order to get right behind the case for the airport we need more information? You are making a substantial investment of more than £20 million of public funds. You put great stay in the vision document, but it has no financial data or financial analysis.

Do you not accept that, if public funds are being invested in the airport, politicians and taxpayers have a right to more information than just simple headlines about what the main revenue streams are? We require to see the numbers.



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 12 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 12, 2014
James Kelly

I made clear at the start of the process that I supported the Government in taking over the airport.



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 12 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 12, 2014
James Kelly

What I am saying now is that you have indicated that the losses are continuing at least at the level that they were at when you took over the airport, that substantial money is being invested, and that we want to get behind the initiative to save the airport and the jobs, but that it is difficult to understand how it is being taken forward when you have produced a document that lacks detail and has no financial data or analysis to back up your case.



Meeting of the Parliament 06 November 2014 : Thursday, November 06, 2014
5. James Kelly (Rutherglen) (Lab)

To ask the First Minister what the Scottish Government’s response is to the KPMG study that indicates that more than 400,000 workers in Scotland are being paid less than the living wage. (S4F-02363)



Meeting of the Parliament 06 November 2014 : Thursday, November 06, 2014
James Kelly

I am sure that the First Minister will agree that it is unacceptable that more than a quarter of a million women in Scotland are not paid the living wage. Some of those women are working on cleaning contracts in Scottish Government locations. Will the First Minister therefore agree to set out a national living wage strategy and to review urgently all Scottish Government cleaning contracts to ensure that people in those locations are paid the living wage?



Meeting of the Parliament 05 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 05, 2014
James Kelly (Rutherglen) (Lab)

It gives me great delight to open this debate on the living wage on behalf of the Labour Party. Labour wants to use this debate to promote living wage week, to welcome the new rate of £7.85 an hour and to enable the Parliament to discuss how we can take forward this issue so that we can ensure that more people in Scotland are paid the living wage.

The report that was produced by KPMG at the start of this week details the fact that 413,000 people in Scotland are not currently paid the living wage—they are paid the minimum wage or greater, but not the living wage. That shows that we have some way to go in order to lift those people out of property. The £7.85 living wage is what is reckoned to be required to allow a family to be provided for decently and adequately. We need to strive to do more. Some 64 per cent of those 413,000 people are women. More than 250,000 women are not paid the living wage, 150,000 of whom are between the ages of 16 and 24. Those are key groups in our society.

The issue is not just about statistics; it is about real people—the cleaner in Cambuslang, the care worker in Carnoustie—who are struggling to bring up their families with the added burden of rising food and energy prices, and who are trying to get by on a wage that is not adequate.

The focus of this debate must be on what we can do to move the situation forward. I will begin with the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government has put itself forward as an enthusiastic supporter of the living wage. However, earlier in the year, when it was given the opportunity through the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill to extend the living wage to everyone on public contracts, SNP members voted that down. That was a hammer blow to the over 400,000 people who are not paid the living wage. It was a missed opportunity given the £10 billion purchasing power of the Scottish Government, which means that it can influence companies to pay the living wage.

The reality now is that, as well as some of the companies to which the Scottish Government awards contracts not paying the living wage in Scottish Government locations, cleaners at Atlantic Quay and in Scottish prisons are not being paid the living wage. The Scottish Government must address that issue. If it wants to brand itself as a serious supporter of the living wage, it needs to ensure that everyone in Scottish Government locations is paid the living wage. That should be an absolute priority.

Earlier in the year, we heard that that was not possible because it would be subject to a legal challenge. I said at the time that, frankly, that was a smokescreen, and the more the issue develops, the more that is becoming clear. Only last week, the Department of Energy and Climate Change announced that all its workers and—crucially—all its subcontractors will be paid the living wage. We are always hearing from the SNP about big, bad Westminster but I question why a big, bad Westminster department has been able to do what the Scottish Government is unable to do and pledge that all its subcontractors will be paid the living wage.

Why are the SNP and the Scottish Government so timid on this issue while people like Boris Johnson are able to be more committed on the living wage? If Angela Constance is serious about it, she should do something about it using the powers in her remit. Angela Constance is one of the contestants in the SNP deputy leadership contest and there seems to be very little to differentiate between the candidates. In recent television appearances Angela Constance has been keen to support the idea of cutting corporation tax, but on the issue of the living wage the silence has been deafening.



Meeting of the Parliament 05 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 05, 2014
James Kelly

Let me develop this point, and I will let Mr McDonald in.

I will give Angela Constance a bit of free advice in the context of the deputy leadership contest. Why does she not look for something that is a bit different from what the other candidates support and say that she is committed to the living wage and wants to see all the subcontractors and people on public contracts being paid the living wage? That would set her apart from the other candidates, and I think that that would appeal to a lot of SNP members. That is a real opportunity for her.



Meeting of the Parliament 05 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 05, 2014
James Kelly

I think that Mark McDonald should be a bit more cautious in calling for minimum wage powers when the Government cannot even use the powers that it has to give Scottish Government cleaners and subcontractors working in Scottish Government locations the living wage. The Government should use those powers first, before asking for more powers.

One of the disappointing things about the Scottish Government’s attitude is that it is not providing proper leadership. One of the big challenges is that 93 per cent of the people who are not on the living wage are in the private sector. If we are going to encourage private sector organisations to pay the living wage, we need more leadership from the Government and we need the Government to be more aggressive in promoting the living wage. We saw in the referendum campaign that the SNP was quite aggressive in promoting independence. Why do we not see the same energy and aggression around the issue of the living wage?

In sectors such as retailing and catering, workers need the support of the living wage, but the momentum is building on it. Only last week, Heart of Midlothian Football Club declared that it would pay the living wage. Organisations such as KPMG have also said that they would pay the living wage. Paying the living wage has real advantages for businesses in terms of falling absenteeism, staff retention and increased recruitment. All that means an improved bottom line and improved performance for the business. There are real opportunities, but the Government should be doing more and be more up front about the living wage.

What is required to take the issue forward is a proper living wage unit that will monitor wage levels in the country and the sectors that need attention. We need a living wage strategy from the Government that it can bring to the chamber for debate; we need proper consultation on it, and regular updates to Parliament.

It is absolutely right that people are entitled to fair wages. It is time that this Government got serious about the living wage. The Government needs to take on its responsibilities and provide leadership. The living wage is an idea whose time has come, but let us see the Scottish Government play its part in its delivery; let us see the Scottish Government stand up and be counted; and let us see the Scottish Government roll out its activities so that we can see some of the 400,000 people who are currently not on the living wage being taken out of the poverty trap and taken forward on to decent wages.

I move,

That the Parliament welcomes the rise in the living wage to £7.85 per hour; believes that payment of the living wage should be the expectation, not the exception, and notes that more than 400,000 workers in Scotland still earn less than the living wage; recognises the benefits to both businesses and their staff of paying the living wage; believes that the payment of the living wage in the private sector should be supported and actively promoted; welcomes the pledge from the Department of Energy and Climate Change that all of its staff, including sub-contracted staff, will be paid at least the living wage, and calls on the Scottish Government to pledge the same and extend the payment of the living wage to all public sector contractors.

16:02  
Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

S4M-11567.2 Margaret Mitchell: Lowering the Drink Drive Limit—As an amendment to motion S4M-11567 in
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NoCarried

S4M-11507.1 Cameron Buchanan: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—
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NoDefeated

S4M-11507 Angela Constance: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—Th
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11494.2 Alex Johnstone: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
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NoDefeated

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
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NoCarried

S4M-11484.1 Jackson Carlaw: Human Rights—As an amendment to motion S4M-11484 in the name of Roseanna
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by James Kelly
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11535: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11534: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11401: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11398: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11325.1: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11282: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11054: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10897: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10592: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10429: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by James Kelly
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4F-02363: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22928: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22932: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22929: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22931: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22930: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02326: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22379: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22329: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03402: James Kelly, Rutherglen, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/06/2014 Show Full Question >>