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Low wage shock as region’s pay exposed

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By Fiona Reid
Front
Low wage shock as region’s pay exposed

AVERAGE wages in Dumfries and Galloway are among the lowest in Scotland.

The region’s two Scottish Parliamentary constituencies have been revealed to sit in the bottom ten lowest paid constituencies in the country.
In response, South of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said: “These figures really do expose the shame of low pay in Dumfries and Galloway.”
He added: “Dumfries and Galloway council has led the way in trying to tackle the problem, leading by example by becoming the first council in Scotland to be a Living Wages accredited employer.
“However, significant Government cuts in public sector jobs in the council and NHS in recent years are driving wages down.”
Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown has revealed the Median Gross Weekly Pay is £346.9 per week in the Dumfriesshire constituency and £338.5 per week in the Galloway and West Dumfries constituency.
This compares to a national average of £403.94, and the £595.30 per week in the highest paid constituency of Aberdeen Donside.
Out of the 74 constituencies in Scotland, Dumfriesshire sits ninth from lowest, and Galloway and West Dumfries sixth from lowest.
The figures have prompted Mr Smyth to urge a radical change in economic policy.
Pointing to the loss of public sector jobs, Mr Smyth said: “The weakness of the local economy means these job cuts are not being replaced by enough new, high-skilled jobs in the private sector.”
Mr Smyth says the government needs ‘to look beyond a Scotland-wide approach’ and provide ‘a fairer distribution of Government jobs to our area’.
He calls for an end to centralisation, a change in the remit of agencies like Scottish Enterprise to support more local businesses, and increased investment in roads and the digital infrastructure.
In response, the Scottish Government point to initiatives such as ‘Fair Work’ aimed at promoting a stronger labour market, and its support of the Living Wage.
A spokesman said: “This Government is committed to ensuring that Scotland’s economic growth is inclusive so that all areas of Scotland can benefit from economic opportunity, by reducing the inequalities that exist between regions as set out in Scotland’s Economic Strategy.”a

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