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BrewDog Glasgow

Living Wage employers get the thumbs up from Scots

The Living Wage in Scotland has won a huge thumbs-up from Scots, who see it as not only boosting a company’s status but making its products and services more attractive.

Three out of four Scots would think more highly of a company which became accredited for paying the real Living Wage, according to a Poverty Alliance survey. It also found that four out of ten people north of the border care if products and services they buy are from a Living Wage employer.

The survey found strong public support for the Living Wage from an employee perspective too, with eight out of ten (80%) Scots saying that being paid a Living Wage would make them feel more valued by their employer and seven out of ten (71%) saying that being paid a Living Wage would make them feel their employer was investing in their development.

The news comes hot on the heels of an announcement last week that Diageo, the global drinks company and leading producer of Scotch Whisky, was announced as the 900th employer in Scotland to achieve Living Wage accreditation. It also represented a significant milestone for the Living Wage Foundation as Diageo is the 33rd company in the FTSE 100 to sign up to the scheme, meaning a third of the UK’s leading companies now support the Living Wage.

Paying someone on a minimum wage a Living Wage equates to a pay rise of £2000 a year, according to the Poverty Alliance, which promotes the real Living Wage in Scotland.
The poll of 1,024 adults, carried out for The Poverty Alliance by Survation, includes people of all income brackets ranging from 18 to 64 years old.

Peter Kelly, director of The Poverty Alliance, said:

“More and more employers in Scotland are seeing the benefits of paying a real Living Wage, in terms of increased retention and better staff morale. This poll shows that the public is behind the Living Wage movement in Scotland, both as consumers and employees. Survey results issued by us earlier this year showed that an increase in pay from the National Minimum Wage to the Living Wage would make workers feel more committed to their job, more productive, and more valued by their employer.

“Right now there are more employers in Scotland who are signing up to become Living Wage accredited employers than in any other region in the U.K. Accreditation is a voluntary programme and a very simple process which we urge employers of all size to consider.”

One of the first employers in Scotland to achieve Living Wage accreditation was ‘punk’ brewer BrewDog. Fiona Hunter, Head of People at BrewDog, said:

“Low pay, particularly in the hospitality sector, is something that doesn’t sit well with us. At BrewDog, paying a good wage makes absolute business sense. We cannot expect our employees to come to work and be amazing when they are worried about making ends meet. Providing a good standard of living is the right thing to do, and it has the added benefit of helping our employees be as brilliant as possible, which drives the growth of the business.

For more information visit www.scottishlivingwage.org

For more information or media interviews contact Gillian Drummond on 01738 700138 or 07490 259009.

New survey reveals stresses of life on low pay in Scotland

One in three Scots on low income struggle to put food on the table, according to a survey commissioned by The Poverty Alliance.

The poll shows people are not only skipping meals but also falling behind on bills, rent and mortgage payments, topping up their incomes with credit cards and loans, and borrowing to get by. And for four out of ten of them, financial stress is affecting their work life.

The startling new figures released today reveal that hardship is real among low earning Scots, with many eager to build up savings or just have a day or night out.

The survey showed that 46% of those earning less than £14,000 are so stressed about their finances that it is negatively affecting their work life. More than a third (37%) had fallen behind with household bills in the last year, 34% were regularly skipping meals, 28% had topped up their income with a credit card or loan, and more than one in five (22%) had fallen behind with their rent or mortgage payments.

The survey of 1,024 adults by Survation included people of all income brackets ranging from 18 to 64 years old. Three quarters of respondents said more employers paying a real Living Wage of £8.45 an hour would raise Scots’ living standards. In addition, eight out of 10 said being paid a real Living Wage would make them feel more valued at work, 74% said they would be more committed to a job, and 66% said they would be more productive at work.

Peter Kelly, director of The Poverty Alliance – which promotes the real Living Wage in Scotland – said: “Our research paints a worrying picture of low earners scraping by, struggling to pay basic bills, skipping meals and feeling a lot of stress. In 2017, in a country like Scotland, that should not be the case.

“We know from other surveys that increasing pay levels from the national minimum wage to a real Living Wage- a pay rise of up to £2000 a year for full-time workers – brings huge benefits to employees and employers, in terms of increased retention and better staff morale.

“The real Living Wage of £8.45 an hour has the backing of three in four Scots in the survey, and it has cross-party support in Scotland. Our survey also found that more than a third of people felt a real Living Wage could tackle child poverty, and the vast majority felt it made for happier, more productive employees.”

Asked how they would spend the extra money if their employer started to pay them the real Living Wage, 44% of low earners, under £14,000, said they would save it and four out of ten would use it to pay off debts and 24% said they’d take part in more social activities.

Although awareness of the real Living Wage was high among consumers, there is still work to be done, said Kelly.

He added: “Since we started the Living Wage accreditation programme in Scotland three years ago, we have signed up more than 780 employers. In Scotland, we’ve had the fastest take-up of any region in the U.K. It’s a voluntary programme and a simple process which we would urge employers of all size to consider.

“There is a long way to go to address in-work poverty for the estimated 467,000 low-paid people in our country . As this research shows, putting just a little bit more in people’s pockets could have positive impacts both socially and economically.”

For more information visit www.scottishlivingwage.org