Living Wage

The Scottish Government has welcomed STV on joining the Scottish Business Pledge, with the company being the 70th company to agree to sign up for this initiative – with one company on average joining every day since the launch in May 2015.

Since the launch, businesses have been working in conjunction with the Scottish Government to boost productivity, incorporate fairness and generate growth across the private sector.  Companies who sign up to the pledge commit to pay their employees the living wage, which is set independently by the Living Wage Foundation.

Scottish Business Pledge has nine components: paying the living wage; not using exploitative zero hours contracts; supporting progressive workforce engagement; investing in youth; making progress on diversity and gender balance; pursuing international business opportunities; playing an active role in the community; commitment to prompt payment; committing to an innovative programme.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney visited the company on Wednesday 5th Aug 2015, meeting staff and to congratulate the company for joining.

Speaking during the visit Mr Swinney said: “I am pleased to congratulate STV on its decision to make the Scottish Business Pledge, joining a growing movement of progressive businesses and organisations with shared values and goals.

“As one of Scotland’s leading digital brands, as well as a broadcaster and programme maker, STV demonstrates the kind of innovative, ambitious approach to business recognised by the Pledge – one that boosts productivity and creates inclusive growth.”

STV Chief Executive Rob Woodward said:

“The principles, values and objectives of STV Group are closely aligned with the aims of the Scottish Business Pledge. STV’s commitment to all nine elements of the Pledge demonstrates our existing approach to investing in our staff.”


Scottish exports in the fast lane

A plan to pilot a “quick route to market” for vehicles caught up in the delays at the channel Tunnel has been welcomed by Fisheries and Food Secretary Richard Lochhead.

The scheme will be overseen by Kent Police after representations by the Scottish Government called for the prioritising of fresh produce caught up in the major delays at Calais.

Mr Lochhead said: “The Scottish Government has repeatedly called for action from the outset of this disruption, and so I welcome this move to prioritise key consignments – including fresh produce – through the Channel Tunnel and Port of Dover. At last we are seeing common sense prevail and a recognition of the impact on food exporters.

“Agreement of this protocol to prioritise a quick to market route is real progress and we will, of course, monitor its introduction and effectiveness.

“While it is by no means a solution to the wider and on-going complex situation in Calais, it will be welcomed by Scottish seafood exporters who have seen orders plummet by up to 80 per cent in some categories in recent weeks. These delays at Calais have had a disproportionate and damaging impact on our vital food processing sector.”

Seafood exports are worth five times as much to Scotland as to the UK as a whole.  Scotland exported £461 million of seafood to the EU in 2014 and Fish commodities account for 59 per cent of all Scotland’s food export products compared with just 12 per cent for the UK as a whole.

Mr Lochhead further commented:

“With no end in sight to the situation at Calais, we will continue to look at options around alternative routes which could be used by hauliers.”


Call on Labour & Lib Dems – “No new Peers”

SNP MP Angus MacNeil has called on New Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron, along with 3 of the Labour Leader candidates, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham to pledge that their parties will not take up any new seats in the House of Lords until there is concrete legislation to reform or abolish the upper house.

The fourth Labour leader candidate, Jeremy Corbyn, speaking in the Scotland on Sunday on 2nd August 2015, has backed the SNP’s call for opposition parties to stop nominating new members to the upper house,

Mr MacNeils’ comments come after Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron called the existing House of Lords system “rotten to the core” whilst during the election both Labour & the Liberal Democrats called for compelling and significant reform to the House of Lords.

Angus MacNeil said:  “The public are growing more and more concerned with the cost of Parliament and David Cameron plans on expanding the House of Lords to over 1000 members; this will do nothing for public finances or public confidence.

“Those who believe that our representatives should be democratically elected should not be adding to their contingent in the unelected house – that is why I am today challenging the UK Labour leadership candidates, and also the new leader of the Liberal Democrats’ Tim Farron not to appoint any new members of the House of Lords until concrete reform is established.

According to the Westminster Parliament website, total membership of the House of Lords is given as 781 members (at 5th August 2015), comprising:

Conservatives – 176 life peers & 48 expected Hereditary Peers – total 226

Labour – 208 life peers & 4 expected hereditary Peers – total 212

Liberal Democrats – 97 life peers & 4 expected hereditary peers – total 101

Non-affiliated – 20 life peers

Other – 16 life peers & 1 expected hereditary peer – total 17

Crossbench – 149 life peers & 30 expected hereditary peers – total 179

Bishops – 26

Making the total number of members 781.

Link to the Westminster website –


For those interested in the history of reforms to the House of Lords, please see the link below: