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Living Wage set at £8.45

Published: 31 Oct 2016 09:44

First Minister announces new rate that will benefit thousands of staff in Scotland.

The First Minister today welcomed the new Living Wage rate of £8.45 an hour and urged more Scottish organisations to sign up as Accredited Living Wage Employers.

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

The Living Wage that meets the real costs of living is reviewed every year using the best evidence about living standards in the UK.

The First Minister today visited The Bell Group, a UK wide painting and decorating contractor headquartered in Airdrie and the latest Scottish business to become an accredited Living Wage employer.

First Minister Nicola 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.

“For business, paying the Living Wage makes sense - it’s an investment in people and all the evidence shows it leads to increased productivity and reduced staff absence and turnover, while sending a strong signal to customers about fairness.

“Yet we also know around 20 per cent 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.

“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.”

Megan Strachan, 21, has worked at Bell Group for three years and will receive the new Living Wage. Megan said:

“The difference the real Living Wage has made is that I’ve finally been able to buy and run a car, which has helped me be more independent. Before, I had to rely on family to get me to work or walk to work in the dark winter mornings. It takes the worry away - a financial problem isn’t just about finances, you think about it all the time.”

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:

“As we kick off Living Wage Week today, we are celebrating the 600+ employers in Scotland and nearly 3,000 employers across the UK who lead the way on tackling low pay by paying the real Living Wage. The sheer growth of our movement shows that the Living Wage is good for people and good for business.”

Annette Bell, co-founder of The Bell Group said:

“We are delighted to mark becoming an accredited real Living Wage employer to celebrate our Company’s renowned commitment to the overall wellbeing of our employees with a visit from the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon today.

“Bell Group today is one of the largest dedicated painting and maintenance contractors in the UK both in terms of our directly employed workforce and geographical coverage. Whilst being market leader, we remain a family-owned and operated business with our foundations being built on a true family ethos.

“The majority of our staff are already paid well above the Living Wage, however becoming accredited meant that we could renew our commitment to ensure that all our staff have a decent quality of life. Furthermore, this accreditation allows us to persuade other companies within our supply chain to look and follow suit, driving the Living Wage ethos throughout the industry.”