Scotland needs the full powers of independence to improve wages, as new research shows the UK has the highest percentage of low paid workers in north west Europe – contradicting Boris Johnson’s claim that the EU and European Single Market was the cause of low wages in the UK.
Analysis of OECD data from the year 2000 shows that the UK has consistently delivered the highest percentage of low earners in north west Europe – falling behind all twelve of its comparative European neighbours.
‘Low pay’ is defined as ‘workers who earn less than two-thirds of median earnings’, and the UK tops the list with a staggering 20.3% of workers falling into this category.
The analysis, using OECD data, found that the UK over a nineteen-year period had a higher percentage of low paid workers than all twelve neighbouring European countries, including Belgium (5.8%), France (6.9%), Iceland (7.4%), Denmark (7.7%), Finland (7.7%), Netherlands (8.0%), Switzerland (10.9%), Luxembourg (12.5%), Austria (15.7%), Ireland (16.8%), and Germany (18.0%).
The figures also show that every EU member state that wasn’t in the communist bloc prior to 1990 also had a lower percentage of low paid workers.
These findings follow on from the UK consistently underperforming in the 21st century against its north west European neighbours in wealth per head, inequality, pension poverty, and recovery.
Commenting, the SNP’s Shadow spokesperson Alison Thewliss MP (pictured) said:
“This is the reality of a Westminster government in the 21st century.
“Year on year, the UK has consistently had the highest percentage of low paid workers in north west Europe.
“There can be no doubt that the only way to protect Scotland’s workers and improve wages is to become an independent country.
“These stats should truly shame Boris Johnson and his Westminster Tory government and expose the fallacy of their claims that low wages were a result of the UK’s membership of the EU.
“Instead of tackling the issue though, under his party’s watch, Universal Credit has been slashed, energy prices are skyrocketing, and food prices have soared.
“Scotland can do so much better than this.
“The evidence clearly shows that independent countries similar to or smaller than Scotland have consistently delivered a lower percentage of low paid workers.
“Scotland is increasingly vulnerable under Westminster control.
“It is essential that the people of Scotland have a choice over their future so that we can finally build a strong, fair and progressive nation.”