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Scottish Nationals Offer Minimum-Wage Increase on Independence

July 28 (Bloomberg) -- The Scottish National Party pledged to increase the minimum wage in line with inflation if independence is approved, as polls continued to show it on course for defeat in the Sept. 18 referendum.

The U.K.-wide minimum wage has stayed below inflation over the course of the recent economic slump, with the panel that sets it focused on not pricing people out of jobs. It is scheduled to rise to 6.50 pounds ($11) an hour from Oct. 1.

“We know one of the key drivers of poverty is earnings, which is why we would use the powers of independence to set a Scottish Minimum Wage guarantee,” Christian McKelvie, a member of the Scottish Parliament, said in an e-mailed statement. “A minimum wage that rises, at the very least, in line with inflation.”

The SNP is focusing its pro-independence campaign on promising increased government spending targeted at poorer voters. This is putting off others, with 17 percent telling a Panelbase poll published yesterday they would consider leaving the country if it gained independence, against 5 percent who’d consider emigrating after a No vote.

The poll of 1,041 people conducted July 16-22 found 48 percent against independence and 41 percent in favor.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Crawford at acrawford6@bloomberg.net Eric Coleman, V. Ramakrishnan

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