Nicola Sturgeon has included a £10 million pledge to fund pilots for Scottish companies to trial four-day working weeks in the SNP manifesto.

The manifesto reads: “Covid-19 changed the way we work almost overnight. As we recover from the pandemic, we want to do more to support people achieve a healthy work-life balance.

“We also want to keep the total number of people in employment high. As part of this, we will establish a £10 million fund to allow companies to pilot and explore the benefits of a four day working week.

“We will use the learning from this to consider a more general shift to a four day working week as and when Scotland gains full control of employment rights. We will also identify additional employment opportunities and assess the economic impact of moving to a four day week.”

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The First Minister also said that should the SNP win a majority at the Holyrood elections in May, Scots would also have free dental care and billions would be invested into the NHS and infrastructure in the nation. A new independence referendum would also be prioritised.

Critics have questioned a proposed freeze on income tax rates and benefits, after the same was said in the 2016 election, pointing out the SNP then put forward a penny increase in 2017.

In a virtual address this morning, Ms Sturgeon said: “I look around Europe and I see independent countries, of similar size to us, that are among the wealthiest, fairest and happiest in the world.

“If Denmark and Norway and Ireland can do it, then with all our resources and talent, why not Scotland?”

She went on to add: “After this election, if there is a simple, democratic majority in the Scottish Parliament for an independence referendum, there will be no democratic, electoral or moral justification whatsoever for Boris Johnson or anyone else to block the right of people in Scotland to decide their own future.

“I believe passionately that with the powers of independence we can do so much more for Scotland.”

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

But she added: “Whether or not Scotland becomes independent won’t be decided by me or by the SNP or even by the Scottish Parliament.

“It will happen only when a majority of people who live here in Scotland are persuaded to vote for it.

“Scotland’s future will always be Scotland’s choice.”

A spokesperson for Boris Johnson today said the Government has ‘no plans’ to bring in a four-day week for the UK.

But despite that, some companies are looking into the prospect anyway. In fact, almost a fifth of companies in the UK are considering bringing in a four-day working week after the pandemic.

It would mean three million employees would benefit from the new move, as businesses look at how to be more flexible post-lockdown, according to the findings of Autonomy, a thinktank specialising in the future of work.

Be The Business, a charity that focuses on productivity in the workplace, ran a survey which found 18 percent of UK companies are thinking of moving to a shorter working week.

The hope is that it would boost productivity, but it seems that some are already on to it.

In fact, five percent of small and medium-sized businesses – 300,000 in total – are ahead of the game and already have a four-day week.


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