By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Labour Deputy Leader, Jackie Baillie, today unveiled the party’s plans to put women at the heart of our national recovery, and unlock billions for Scotland’s economy.
Speaking as the party launched their Women’s Manifesto, Ms Baillie said Scotland is ‘at a crossroads’.
We can either ‘go backwards’, or we can invest in women as our ‘economic powerhouse’ and deliver ‘a fairer recovery and a stronger Scotland’, said Baillie.
The pandemic has seen women more likely to step back from work to take on caring responsibilities, and women are more likely to lose their jobs in the anticipated recession.
However, research by ‘Close the Gap’ has found that the effective utilisation of women’s skills and talents has the potential to catalyse £17bn of growth in Scotland’s economy.
Scottish Labour’s economic recovery plan would invest over £1bn in a transformational job creation scheme. The £500 Scottish Skills Benefit is likely to provide particular support to women, given that 72% of learners on the previous Individual Learning Account model were women.
Today’s Women’s Manifesto includes additional proposals to:
- target specific support to people with a protected characteristic who may face disadvantage in the labour market through an ‘Equal Access Careers’ scheme;
- encourage women into leadership positions with targeted training and strengthened childcare support;
- designate childcare and social care as key growth sectors and develop a comprehensive support strategy for unpaid carers; and
- support the growing number of women who are starting new enterprises through a new Entrepreneur Unit, ensuring equality of access to government investment.
Scottish Labour is committed to tackling the gender pay gap. In recognition that the Public Sector Equality Duty has not had the intended transformational impact, today’s Women’s Manifesto commits to statutory gender pay reviews across the Scottish public sector, and would provide one-off central funds to pay for historical equal pay claims.
Proposals on annual pay reviews would cover not only public sector bodies, but also private companies with over 250 employees who benefit from public procurement.
Scottish Labour Deputy Leader, Jackie Baillie MSP, said: “As we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, Scotland is at a crossroads.
“We can either allow the pandemic to take us backwards, or we can choose to invest in women as our economic powerhouse, unlocking billions in economic growth.
“Scottish Labour is committed to putting women at the heart of our recovery.
“Our Women’s Manifesto would deliver not only a fairer recovery, but a stronger Scotland.”
Scottish Labour Leader, Anas Sarwar, said: “As we come out of this pandemic, I am focused on what unites us not what divides us.
“Our national recovery plan has women at its heart. It’s not only because the right thing to do, but it will deliver a stronger and more resilient economy.”
Jackie Baillie with women fighting for women’s causes at meetings in Dumbarton.