20p an hour rise in rate

Firms urged to sign up to new living wage

Money - own picFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged businesses to sign up to the new Living Wage rate which today has been set at £8.45 an hour.

The 20p rise will benefit thousands of employees at Living Wage-accredited organisations in Scotland.

During a visit to Airdrie painting and decorating company Bell Group, the latest Scottish business to become an accredited Living Wage employer, Ms Sturgeon said: “The new Living Wage of £8.45 will be a welcome pay rise for thousands of Scottish workers and ensures people’s basic wage continues to meet the real costs of living.

“Like the Bell Group, 630 employers in Scotland are now accredited Living Wage employers and I want to see all businesses implement the new Living Wage rates as soon as possible.”

She said the Living Wage “makes sense” as an “investment in people” and pointed to evidence showing that it leads to increased productivity and reduced staff absence and staff turnover, while sending a strong signal to customers about fairness.

“Yet we also know around 20% of Scotland’s workforce earn less than the Living Wage. With low pay one of the main drivers of in-work poverty, it’s vital that employers who can pay the real Living Wage do so,” she said.

“We’ll continue to work with the Living Wage Foundation and the Poverty Alliance to encourage more businesses to recognise the benefits of paying the real Living Wage.”

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance said: “Today’s announcement of the new, increased, Living Wage rates of £8.45 brings a welcome pay rise to thousands of workers across Scotland.

“430,000 people in Scotland still earn less than the wage they need to get by. This is an increase on the number of people struggling since last year’s figures. That’s why it’s more important than ever for leading employers to join the growing movement of businesses and organisations that are going further than the government minimum and making sure their employees earn enough to cover the real cost of living.”

Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation said: “The sheer growth of our movement shows that the Living Wage is good for people and good for business.”

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