THE SNP will support businesses in Scotland to trial a four-day working week if re-elected, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The SNP leader was speaking at the launch of her party’s manifesto, which also contains the pledge.

It says that an SNP government will create a £10 million fund “to allow companies to pilot and explore the benefits of a four-day working week”.

The manifesto goes on: “We will use the learning from this to consider a more general shift to a four-day working week as and when Scotland gains full control of employment rights.

“We will also identify additional employment opportunities and assess the economic impact of moving to a four-day week.

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“More widely, we will support a review - in partnership with trade unions and businesses - of how working practices could and should be adapted to meet the needs of the future economy.”

Downing Street confirmed that there are no plans to trial the four-day scheme in England.

The news comes after Advice Direct Scotland urged parties to include a four-day work week pledge in their manifestos, saying the policy “has been shown to work”.

The charity said absenteeism had fallen by more than 75% since it brought in a reduced working week, and cited a report which last year found 70% of people backed a four-day week, with only 8% opposed or strongly opposed to the idea.

Spain has recently announced plans to allow a modest pilot of the four-day work week for interested companies.

With a €50 million fund backing the project, companies will be able to trial the reduced working hours with minimal risk to profits.

Politicians in the country argue that the fund would allow around 200 companies, for a total of around 3000-6000 workers, to participate.