Workers in Scotland must earn £9.30 an hour in order to cover the cost of living, as the Living Wage Foundation today (Monday, November 11) announced its new Living Wage rates.
The Living Wage rates are the UK’s only independently calculated wage rates based on what people need to live in the UK and London. The 2019 increases have been largely driven by rental costs.
On average, a worker paid the real Living Wage of £9.30 will earn £2000 more a year than someone earning the UK Government minimum of £8.21 an hour – enough to cover nine months of a typical family’s food and drink bill.
More than 1600 Scotland-based Living Wage Employers have now voluntarily gone beyond the minimum to pay a real Living Wage, including Brewdog, SSE and multiple branches of household names such as Majestic, Lush and Nationwide.
Earlier this year Dundee and Glenrothes were also celebrated as the first places in the UK to develop plans to become a Living Wage City and Living Wage Town respectively.
This year the Living Wage Foundation, business leaders and leading politicians are celebrating organisations that are tackling in-work poverty by paying a real Living Wage.
Minister for Fair Work Jamie Hepburn said: “This rise in the real Living Wage rate will make a big difference to the lives of thousands of people.
“I am delighted to say that over the last year even more businesses and organisations have recognised the benefits of ensuring people’s basic pay meets the cost of living.
“Today there are more than 1600 Living Wage accredited employers in Scotland, 300 more than last year.
“The Scottish Government will continue working with the Poverty Alliance to build a Living Wage Nation and encourage even more employers to adopt the real Living Wage.”
Speaking about what it means to receive the real Living Wage, Jamie Napier, a facilities operative at City Building, Glasgow, said: “Coming from being on jobseekers, and then actually getting a decent wage, it opens up more doors for you, gives you more opportunities.
“I’ve now got two kids, which I wouldn’t have been able to have the option to try and do, with lack of security and money.
“Now, I’m able to have my own home. My kids have plenty of stuff and they enjoy themselves. It’s an opportunity that I don’t think I would have had if I didn’t work for City Building, earning the real Living Wage.
“I didn’t start my family until I was earning the real Living Wage so that’s where it was a plus for me. I would’ve struggled, I don’t think I would’ve even made it as an option, not having the money there.
“Having the option to have kids, give them a bit of money and stability – that’s what I’ve gained: a bit of stability, I’ve got security behind me now.”
Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance said the new, increased real Living Wage rates of £9.30 would bring a welcome pay rise to thousands of workers across Scotland.
He added: “The real Living Wage is a vital component in the fight against in-work poverty. Workers need a wage that reflects the cost of living, but too many workers across Scotland are locked into poverty.
“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 UK Government minimum and making sure their employees earn enough to cover the cost of living.”