First Minister endorses poverty campaign's push to massively increase workplaces paying the living wage
An ambitious new target has been set to massively increase the number of employers paying the living wage.
It was announced last week that 150 organisations had agreed to pay at least the £7.85 an hour rate.
Now campaigners and politicians want to see this number rise to 500 by this time next year.
The Poverty Alliance, which operates the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative, set the new target which was announced by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the Scottish National Party’s conference on Saturday.
She told delegates: “I am proud to tell you that after just four months, and thanks to the enthusiasm of Scotland’s employers and the hard work of the Poverty Alliance, we have already delivered that target [150 employers].
We look forward to this new challenge, and are confident that we should hit the new target by March 2016
“So today I can announce that we will go further. Within the next 12 months, we aim to have – not 150 – but 500 companies signed up and paying the living wage to all of their workers.”
Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said: “We look forward to this new challenge, and are confident that we should hit the new target by March 2016.
“There has been much interest from different sectors across Scotland, and more and more employers are realising that paying the living wage is the right thing to do.
“In work poverty is a growing problem in Scotland, and employers have a vital role in tackling it.
“The employers that we have been working with know that it is the right thing to do for their staff, businesses and the wider community.
“This is what makes the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative so important. If we are to create a more socially just Scotland, then policies like the living wage need to be at the heart of our labour market.
“There is no doubt that reaching 500 accredited employers is a big task, but thanks to funding support from the Scottish Government, the Poverty Alliance will be able to work alongside even more employers to ensure that this new target is met.”