Activists from RISE - Scotland’s Left Alliance protested across Scotland last Saturday against the "wholly inadequate" rise in the national minimum wage introduced on April 1 by the Chancellor George Osborne.

Holding leaflets reading ‘Time for £10', RISE activists were out on Ayr High Street, making the point that the modest increase of £6.70 per hour to £7.20 for all employees over 25 years of age falls well short of the £10 per hour level the Government concedes people need to earn in order to pay their own way.

The Chancellor acknowledges staff must still rely on 'in work benefits' to make ends meet with a minimum wage at £7.20.

RISE candidate for South Scotland Laura Waters said the 50p rise was "wholly inadequate to combat poverty pay in Ayrshire" and that it was “blatant discrimination” to pay people under 25 a different rate for the same work.

Laura stated: "The UK Government tell us people need to be earning £10 per hour before they stop qualifying for ‘top-up’ benefits such as tax credits, free school meals, and housing benefit. Yet today they increase the national minimum wage to just £7.20 per hour.

"Our day of action today on Ayr High Street therefore draws attention to the wholly inadequate extent of this rise in the national minimum wage.

“Shops and businesses across Ayrshire are closing in part because people do not have enough money in their pockets to spend in their communities. A £10 an hour wage would go some way to addressing this.

“This would provide a valuable boost to the local economy and is an important measure to reduce the scandal of inequality in modern day Scotland.

RISE candidate for South Scotland Stuart Cooper added: “We aim to highlight the fact Scotland's retailers pay some of the poorest wages around.

"RISE will not stand idly by as unscrupulous employers exploit their staff, particularly in retail, the care sector, tourism, hospitality and the licensed trade whom we all know pay their workers so little."