Fife bid for first living wage town in Scotland

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A pilot project in Fife to make Glenrothes the first living wage accredited town in Scotland is making strides.

At Glenrothes Area Committee on Wednesday, councillors were updated on the scheme it backed in 2017.

Across Fife, 55 businesses are now living wage accredited employers, representing four per cent of all accredited businesses in Scotland.

Employers, including Fife Council, are joining forces to make sure they pay the voluntary living wage of £9.

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Nine of those businesses are based in Glenrothes, and it is on track to become the first living wage accredited town, with Dundee taking the first city and Perth and Kinross working on becoming the first region in Scotland.

However, Councillor Julie Ford raised concerns that the fee to become living wage accredited could be putting many small businesses off joining.

But Emma McGeough, economy officer, told the committee: “There is a challenge fund allocated to help support applications. Businesses can apply to get part or all of the application fee funded.”

Councillor Altany Craik said: “The living wage attracts a lot of attention, but I’d hope to see we’re promoting the living wage and those employers are taking it seriously. It doesn’t just mean we stick our flag in the sand to say we are, with just one or two businesses.

“We are living wage employers and we’re taking it serious. But I want the outcome to mean what we say it means. We have to work together to make that happen for people in Glenrothes.”

Councillor Fiona Grant, convener, added:  “I hope it goes without saying that we all act as ambassadors for this when we are out and about. Glenrothes area committee agreed to go for this. When out and about I hope everyone is nudging businesses and encouraging them so we can move towards becoming a living wage place.”