Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) welcomes the opportunity to respond to the consultation. In 2017-18, Scotland’s CAB network advised clients on a total of 47,254 issues related to employment. Of those, the largest proportion related to Pay and Entitlements (13,697), with Scottish CAB advising clients on 454 issues specifically related to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage.
CAS would consider the following to be particularly key points for consideration in determining the minimum wage rates for 2020, but also in developing the policy beyond that point:
- Citizens Advice Scotland has seen rising levels of in-work poverty over the past five years which indicates that the current minimum wage rates are not sufficient.
- Incomes of our clients are also being affected by wider factors such as a reduction in the value of social security support and rising costs. If the UK Government is to meet its aim of making work pay, then the minimum wage must be increased to meet the independently-calculated Living Wage.
- The national minimum wage should also be equalised for all ages, to reduce unfairness, and reduce complexity in the system.
- CAB regularly advise clients who have been paid less than the national minimum wage. Particularly common are cases involving non-UK nationals, and workers who are paid ‘cash in hand’ or not given written contracts or payslips.
- Consideration should be given to changing the name of the ‘National Living Wage’ to avoid confusion and better distinguish it from the ‘Real Living Wage’.