Increase in the living wage

The voluntary living wage rate has risen to £8.25 an hour, an increase of 40p per hour.

The new rate, set by the Living Wage Foundation, was announced by Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training

The announcement came in tandem with research released by KPMG, a principal partner of the Living Wage Foundation, showing that 20 per cent of Scottish workers receive less than the living wage – around 441,000 people.

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The worst performing areas are East Renfrewshire with 32 per cent of employees on less than the living wage rate, and Angus and Clackmannanshire at 31 per cent.

The new rate, which the Living Wage Foundation encourages responsible businesses to pay, is calculated independently and based on the cost of living.

On the day that the University of Glasgow signed up to the living wage, Ms Cunningham commented: “This is an important landmark in our drive to have at least 500 accredited employers by March next year. With so many employers signing up in the last year alone, thousands of Scottish employees have received a pay rise, and the announcement of a new rate of £8.25 will be further welcome news.

“With around 100 firms gathering for the UK’s first Living Wage Expo in Edinburgh last month, awareness of the living wage and its benefits to employers – increased staff morale, reduced absenteeism and higher levels of productivity – is clearly on the rise.”

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She added: “I would urge all employers to consider the Living Wage to help both their business and its employees.”

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance which runs the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative, said: “The Living Wage Movement in Scotland has gone from strength to strength over the last year. More employers than ever recognise both the importance of paying the Living Wage for their staff as well as for their organisation.

“The increase being announced today will be a welcome boost to the pay packets of thousands of Scottish employees. There has been much debate in recent weeks about how best to address the problems of in-work poverty. We know that paying the Living Wage is at the heart of the solution.”