Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Addressing the gender pay gap in Scotland

Sharing Catherine Stihler's concerns about the gender pay gap as highlighted in the SNP government's recently published annual report into the Gender Equality Scheme, her writing to the First Minister to ask whether the SNP government would consider setting up a task force to address the continuing pay gap in Scotland is a welcome one. But curiously I wonder whether Catherine has also written to the UK Prime Minister and leader of her own Labour party, Gordon Brown, or the UK Minister for Work and Pensions or to any of their predecessors (ever) on this issue as legislation on employment and equal opportunities (including equal pay) is a matter reserved to the UK Parliament.

Perhaps Catherine could urge her colleague Wendy Alexander to include employment law as a competence that her recently established Commission might consider as a prime candidate for devolving to the Scottish government not to mention the tax and benefit arrangements for social security.

Its always good to see a Labour MEP demonstrating once again that the devolution settlement of 1999 is inadequate to meet the aspirations of the people of Scotland. Catherine clearly recognises that the SNP government wants to see a fairer Scotland and that this requires it has all the policy levers under its control. In the meantime perhaps Catherine could also contribute her thoughts on this to the SNP government through its National Conversation.

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