MORE than a quarter of a million Scots are trapped in insecure work including zero hours contracts and low-paid self-employment, figures today show.

An analysis by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), commissioned by Scottish Labour, found that an estimated 274,000 people in Scotland have unreliable incomes, including 71,000 on zero hours contracts with no guarantee of work. Another 160,000 are in low paid self-employment and 43,000 are in insecure temporary jobs.

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jackie Baillie, said: “Too many jobs in Scotland are insecure, without guaranteed hours or income.

"That insecurity then flows through our economy holding it back – from the stress it puts on working people, to the pressure it puts on family finances.

“People can’t plan ahead if they don’t know what next month’s pay cheque will be – if it turns up at all."

Ms Baillie said her party would ban zero hours contracts and will put pressure on the Scottish Government to stop signing off taxpayer-funded contracts and grants to companies who use them.

However, figures also show that the number of people employed in zero-hours contracts in Scotland has fallen by 7000 in the past year, and the percentage of workers on these arrangements is lower in Scotland that the UK as a whole and England or Wales.

SNP MSP Sandra White said: “Exploitative zero-hours contracts are utterly toxic – they are unstable and often leave people in desperate situations where they don’t know how much they will be earning week to week.

“It is excellent to see that the number of people relying on these contracts has fallen."

It comes as SNP MP for Glasgow South, Stewart McDonald, ramped up a campaign for an end to unpaid trial shifts.

He said that over the busy festive period some shops bars and restaurants would increasingly turn to unpaid trial shifts to cover staff shortages.

Mr McDonald has put forward a Private Members' Bill to bring to an end the practice of people being asked to work without pay and with no guarantee of a job.

Mr McDonald said: "Unpaid trial shifts are common practice across the UK. However, they are exploitative and take unfair advantage of people genuinely seeking work."

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “Wages in Scotland are growing overall and we have seen a fall of 6000 in the number of people on zero hours contracts.

“Latest figures also show that the overall level of temporary employment in Scotland fell by 5.7 per cent over the year to July 2016 to June 2017 however we are mindful that temporary employment can also be a choice for individuals who want to work flexibly."