Martin Whitfield MSP has officially been accredited as a Living Wage Employer, a commitment that ensures his staff will receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.50.

This UK rate, and the London rate (£10.85), are significantly higher than the government minimum for over 23s, which currently stands at £8.91 per hour.

In Scotland, more than 15 per cent of all jobs pay less than the real Living Wage – around 350,000 jobs. The real Living Wage is the only UK wage rate calculated according to the costs of living.

Employers choose to pay the real Living Wage on a voluntary basis, recognising the value of their workers and ensuring that a hard day’s work receives a fair day’s pay. Since 2011 the Living Wage movement has delivered a pay rise to over 45000 people in Scotland and put over £240 million extra into the pockets of low paid Scottish workers.

Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“I made becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer one of my early priorities as a new MSP, and am pleased to confirm my accreditation during Challenge Poverty Week.

“I believe that MSPs and other decision-makers signing up in this way sends out an important message about why the Living Wage matters and hopefully helps encourage local employers to become accredited too.

“The benefits of becoming a Living Wage employer are well documented. They include improvements in staff recruitment, motivation and retention, better industrial relations and enhanced business reputation.

“I’m delighted that East Lothian has also set out the ambition of becoming a Living Wage area. It’s vital for local authorities and other big employers to give this sort of lead in their areas. I’ll be seeking to work with councils and other employers across South Scotland to encourage the take-up of the Living Wage.”

Peter Kelly, Director of The Poverty Alliance, said:

“Too many workers in Scotland are in the grip of poverty and employers choosing to pay at least the real Living Wage can loosen that grip. Payment of the real Living Wage allows those in work to become more included in society, better meet their everyday needs, and feel that their value and hard work is recognised by their employer.

“Congratulations to Martin Whitfield on his Living Wage commitment, and I hope more organisations follow his lead by becoming Living Wage accredited.”

Lynn Anderson, Living Wage Scotland Manager, said:

“We’re delighted that Martin Whitfield MSP has become an accredited Living Wage employer. They join a growing movement of over 1900 employers in Scotland who together want to ensure workers have what they need to thrive. Our Living Wage employer network includes lots of smaller employers as well as larger and iconic brands like SSE, abrdn, Barrs, Mackie’s of Scotland, and D.C. Thomson. We hope to see many more employers following their example.”