The SNP’s flagship “Business Pledge” scheme applies to only 2.4 per cent of jobs in Scotland, new figures have revealed.

Scottish Labour has called on Nationalist ministers to up their game and improve the scheme’s take-up.

According to the latest figures, 59,120 workers are employed by a company signing the Business Pledge, with only 0.2 per cent of Scotland’s firms taking part.

There is poor take-up in traditionally low pay sectors with insecure work, with just one company from the ‘accommodation and food services’ sector.

The Business Pledge was announced to much fanfare by Nicola Sturgeon in her first major speech following the 2015 General Election.

To sign up to the pledge, a company must commit to paying the Living Wage and to two other criteria, ranging from not using zero hour contracts to paying bills promptly.

Of all the criteria, ‘making progress on gender balance and diversity’ is at the bottom of the list, with only 35 per cent of companies signing up.

Scottish Labour’s economy spokesperson Richard Leonard MSP said:

“The Business Pledge is a laudable goal, but these figures show how ineffective the SNP government has been in promoting it.

A strong economy providing fair work and a living wage is something we support, but the SNP has only convinced 0.2 per cent of Scottish business to sign up to their flagship scheme, with only 2.4 per cent of Scottish jobs covered by it.

The lack of progress in traditional low wage sectors with insecure work like hotels and hospitality is also a worry as the pledge should be changing the nature of private sector work.

And despite all the warm words from SNP ministers on gender balance, promoting that is bottom of the priorities for companies signing up for the pledge. Questions need to be asked if the SNP is truly making the persuasive economic case for a gender-balanced workforce.

The first step towards a fairer economy would be a living wage guarantee in all public contracts, meaning a better wage for some of Scotland’s lowest paid workers.”