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Minimum Wage

Volume 575: debated on Wednesday 5 February 2014

5. How many cases of non-payment of the minimum wage have been detected in Scotland since 2010; how many such cases have been prosecuted; and how many employers have been named and shamed for non-payment. (902343)

While there have been no prosecutions or naming and shaming of businesses for non-payment of the minimum wage in Scotland since at least 2007, a revised scheme came into effect on 1 October 2013 making it simpler to name and shame such employers. I urge anyone with information about such an employer to use that scheme.

I note that the Minister did not tell us how many instances of non-payment had been detected. At a time of economic difficulty, it is a scandal that people are being exploited by being paid less than the national minimum wage. The policing of the Act ought to be much strengthened, then there ought to be vigorous prosecutions and harsh punishments, and there certainly ought to be naming and shaming. Will the Government agree to co-operate with any investigation that the Scottish Affairs Committee—with its full complement of members, I hope—conducts into this matter?

I recognise that the Committee has done much valuable work in this area, and of course we will continue to work with it. In Scotland, prosecutions are a matter for the Lord Advocate, but I am sure he will have heard the hon. Gentleman’s contribution this morning.

13. What representations has the Scottish Office made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer about increasing the national minimum wage to £7 an hour, and what effect does the Minister think such an increase would have on living standards in Scotland? (902351)

I agree with the Chancellor when he said:

“I believe Britain can afford an above-inflation increase in the minimum wage so we restore its real value for people and we make sure we have a recovery for all and that work always pays.”