STEPHEN Flynn has branded Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar a “sleekit salesman” after he admitted his family firm does not pay workers the real living wage.

On Sunday, Sarwar was forced to concede that his own family’s business does not pay salaries which match the level Labour claims will “lift people out of poverty” as part of their “New Deal for Working People”.

Sarwar relinquished his own shares in the family business – United Wholesale (Scotland) – in 2017. They were reported to be worth around £4.8 million.

However, his wife Furheen still benefits, receiving reported dividends of around £40,000 a year.

In late 2017, Sarwar claimed he had received assurances from the company that it "wants to transition to a real living wage for all employees".

As of April 2024, the national living wage in the UK is £11.44 an hour for people aged 21 and over. The "real living wage" – which paying is voluntary – is £12 an hour, and £13.15 in London.

Appearing on the BBC’s Sunday Show, Sarwar said: “Look, we want the country to be wealthier. We want to deliver economic growth. We want people's incomes to go up.

“And that's why a centrepiece of our election campaign will be our new deal for working people, which is about banning exploitative zero hour contracts, ending the scandal of fire and rehire, and delivering a genuine living wage, and that genuine living wage will lift people out of poverty.”

However, asked if his family firm pays its employees that genuine living wage, Sarwar eventually conceded that it does not.

The admission has been labelled a “hypocrisy scandal” by the SNP.

The party’s Westminster leader, Stephen Flynn, said: "Anas Sarwar isn't even the change the workers in his family's firm need – never mind Scotland.”

He went on: "This Labour Party hypocrisy scandal shows why voting SNP is vital to protect workers' rights and put Scotland first.

"Hard working people across Scotland are struggling to make ends meet thanks to Westminster failure – and Anas Sarwar's family firm are doubling down on that struggle by refusing to pay a real living wage.

"To make matters worse, Anas's household has been raking in profits of at least £40,000 a year from the business – that's well over the average annual income for a working Scot.

“The Labour Party has repeatedly watered down their commitments on workers’ rights and it’s no surprise given this astonishing revelation from their most senior figure in Scotland.

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“Anas Sarwar is a sleekit salesman and when push comes to shove it really is less change, more chancer.

“Sarwar’s family firm shows exactly why we need SNP MPs who will always put Scotland and workers first.”

Energy Secretary Mairi McAllan also criticised Sarwar over the admission, writing on social media: “3500 employers in Scotland now paying the real living wage but – staggeringly – not the *Labour* leader’s own family business.

“Incredible hypocrisy. And a reminder why Scotland finally shook off the perpetual disappointment of Labour many years ago.”