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Sajid Javid gives pay rise to thousands of Scots with National Living Wage boost

Chancellor Sajid Javid
Chancellor Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid has pledged to raise the National Living Wage to £10.50 within the next five years.

The Chancellor will also lower the age threshold for those who qualify from 25 to 21.

The current rate for over-25s is £8.21, but the Living Wage Foundation says it should already be £9 across the UK and £10.55 for those in London.

Mr Javid said the policy would “help the next generation of go-getters to get ahead”.

He added: “Over the next five years, we will make the UK one of the first major economies in the world to end low pay altogether.

“That means, on current forecasts, this ambitious plan will bring the national living wage up to £10.50 – giving four million people a well-earned pay rise.”

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie welcomed the move, telling the Press and Journal: “This is fantastic news and proof if it were needed that the Conservatives are on the side of working people.

“The increase in the National Living wage will make a huge difference to many people across the country – and right here in the north-east.”

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said the sector could find the rise “difficult to absorb”.

He said: “We fully share the aspiration for having better paid colleagues within the industry, however the key to raising pay on a sustainable basis ultimately rests with increasing productivity.

“Frankly, that’s made all the more challenging at a time when retailers are grappling with a hodgepodge of government-imposed cost rises – on employer pension contributions, business rates, the apprenticeship levy, and workplace parking levies in the pipeline – at a time when retail sales are flat and shopping habits are changing.”

The announcement came as Mr Javid confirmed a host of infrastructure projects and extra cash for the NHS, all of which will see the Scottish Government handed more than £300million in Barnett consequentials.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “With serious problems in our schools and health ‎service in Scotland it is essential that Nicola Sturgeon uses this funding effectively.

“The Scottish Conservatives will hold Nicola Sturgeon and her failing administration to account.”

The SNP said the Chancellor’s announcements pale into insignificance when taken with his approval of Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy.

Aberdeen North MP Kirsty Blackman said: “Crashing out of the EU without a deal would be damaging for the economy, could plunge the UK into recession, cost thousands of jobs and hit our public services.

“That is a price that Scotland must not be made to pay.”

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