It may seem incredible, but the minimum wage has only been enshrined in UK law for 15 years.
Its introduction on April 1 1999 was hugely controversial, with doomsday predictions that it would damage the economy and kill off small businesses.
No doubt there were casualties along the way but, with the benefit of hindsight, I doubt anyone would now seriously argue for the minimum wage to be scrapped.
At just £3.60 per hour on introduction, it was a very long way from being a fortune. But it offered thousands of low-paid workers the comfort of knowing what to expect as a minimum in their pay packets at the end of the week.
As the minimum wage embedded in corporate culture, the focus shifted from whether it should have been introduced at all to whether it paid enough cash for workers to get by.
That argument continues to be played out under the Living Wage movement, which urges employers to pay more than the statutory minimum wage to their lowest-paid staff.
Perth-based SSE last year became the UK’s largest officially accredited Living Wage employer when it signed up to guarantee a rate of at least £7.45 per hour for 20,000 workers.
The company recognised staff with less to worry about in their home lives were likely to be more productive at their desks.
Yesterday, the long-awaited Procurement Reform Bill which will govern how £10 billion of annual spending in Scotland is administered passed through the Scottish Parliament.
There was a last-minute amendment proposed by Scottish Labour to make the higher-rate Living Wage a condition of future public-sector contracts.
The SNP said European Commission advice prevented such a stipulation, but said it wanted companies bidding for public contracts to have their “willingness and ability to pay” the Living Wage assessed as part of the contract selection process.
But the very fact fair pay rates are on the political radar can only be a good thing.
Those who put the effort into making the economy tick should be able to enjoy the fruit of their labours.
The Living Wage may not be a ticket to a millionaire lifestyle but it does provide a degree of certainty for thousands of workers and I fully endorse its implementation, both within central administrations and independent organisations.
Meanwhile, I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak at a networking event at Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce this week.
My job was to bring members up to speed with this year’s Courier Business Awards in association with Henderson Loggie sorry for the shameless plug, but entries are open now at www.thecourierbusinessawards.com.
It gave me the chance to see the Chamber in action first hand, and I have to say I was hugely impressed as around 100 members turned out on a Monday evening to talk business.
The members I talked to spoke with great passion about their business ideas, and before I knew it a couple of hours had flown past.
I have been to many similar events in the past where it appeared I had stumbled on to the set of One Man and His Dog, so huge congratulations to Sandra Burke and her team at DACC for their efforts in facilitating such a vibrant event.
Networking can be a chore sometimes, but business is all about making contacts and establishing those vital relationships. If you don’t believe me, ask Mr Rolls and Mr Royce, or Mr Marks and Mr Spencer.
If you want a closer-to-home example, how about Mr Balfour, a teenage apprentice at the Blackness Foundry in Dundee in the late 1880s, who later went on to meet a certain English accountant named Beatty.
More than 100 years later, those two names live on in the guise of leading multi-national construction conglomerate Balfour Beatty.
If their example is anything to go by, it is true that from small acorns great oaks can grow.