“However, we want to go further and to achieve that we need to secure progress in Europe if we are to gain the ability to make a mandatory living wage a requirement in public procurement contracts. Despite opposition claims to the contrary, today’s letter from the European Commission proves we are prevented from acting until change in Europe is secured.
South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has today welcomed the passing of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill as a boost for local businesses.
The bill will require bodies to consider how they can include small and medium sized enterprises, the third sector and supported businesses in their procurement activities.
The Federation of Small Businesses has described the Bill as an “important step” in changing how we view procurement in Scotland.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine, who is also a member of the parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee said:
“I am very pleased that this legislation has passed and have no doubt that it will improve the situation for those attempting to access public contracts by establishing a national procurement framework for Scotland that will improve consistency and transparency.
“The bill will require bodies to consider how they can involve small and medium-sized enterprises, the third sector and supported businesses. That is particularly important because it is at the pre-procurement stage that public bodies have the greatest scope to ensure that procurement is accessible, in particular to smaller businesses.”
Meanwhile SNP MEPs have vowed to keep campaigning for Living wage progress in Europe.
Ms McAlpine added:
“The SNP has led by example on this issue by becoming the first ever Scottish Government to adopt the living wage for all of its employees.
“Only with Independence can we truly make gains towards building a fairer and more prosperous country creating more jobs and making people better off by introducing measures such as increasing the minimum wage – which would greatly benefit rural areas like Dumfries and Galloway – which is one of the locations in Scotland where the proportion of people earning less than £7 an hour is highest.
“The evidence of devolution shows that there are big gains for people and families when decisions are made here in Scotland. The SNP have demonstrated this through the introduction of measures such as free bus travel for pensioners; free personal care for the elderly; abolition of prescription charges, rejection of the privatisation of NHS services seen in England; restoring free education; no compulsory redundancies in the public sector; the introduction of a living wage and the council tax freeze
“On the other hand there are costs when we leave decisions in the hands of Westminster governments, which often, like now, have no majority in Scotland. Independence is best for our future because it means we will have the powers to create more jobs, build a fairer country and make people better off.”