New Figures Highlight Importance of Council’s Living Wage Campaign

Following the release of the report from the Resolution Foundation on the roll-out of the National Living Wage in Scotland from April 2016, Dumfries and Galloway Council would once again like to encourage the Region’s employers to join them in paying the Living Wage to their employees.

Our Council is proud to lead by example by delivering a Living Wage for our staff, and we have already been working with a number of local companies to encourage them to commit to paying the Living Wage.

Towards the end of last year we sent out around 2,000 letters to local employers encouraging them to pay the Living Wage to their employees. It is positive that across our region, a number of employers have already signed up for Living Wage Accreditation.

If employers paid not just the proposed increase National Minimum Wage but a real Living Wage even more people in our region would benefit.

Poverty affects so much of what we are trying to achieve as a council – providing the best start in life for our children, protecting our most vulnerable and building our local economy to provide jobs. This is why we implemented our Anti-Poverty Strategy in June 2015, the same time we were credited as becoming a Living Wage Employer, to tackle this problem head on and set out what we are doing to improve the lives of people in our region.

It is important to note that the figures released through the Resolution Foundation report are for the National Living Wage, which is basically the National Minimum Wage, and NOT the ‘Living Wage’ which is what Dumfries and Galloway Council pay. The Living Wage is paid on a voluntary basis, set by the Living Wage Foundation, and at a higher hourly rate (currently £8.25 as opposed to the £7.20 proposed in this report).

The Council also approved our Dumfries and Galloway Regional Economic Strategy 2015 – 2020 in May 2015. The vision that underpins our strategy is: ‘By 2020, Dumfries and Galloway will have a more diverse and resilient economy. One which is capable of taking advantage of opportunities by combining an appropriately skilled workforce and connected infrastructure to support more prosperous and inclusive communities where every member of every community has equality of access to that prosperity.’ One way in which we will measure the success of this Strategy is by reducing the wage gap between the regional and national average by 20%.

The Council’s Social Work Services Committee agreed in October to support the roll out of the Living Wage to Care at Home providers and pledged to lobby the Scottish Government to secure the funding. There is growing urgency to ensure that care providers are able to comply with requirements to pay the new National Living Wage from April 2016 to stabilise current capacity within the sector.”

Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Councillor Ronnie Nicholson said: “These figures from the Resolution Foundation , which show the impact of the forthcoming rise in the National Minimum Wage, highlights just why the Council have been right in promoting payment of Living Wage. Sadly the scourge of low pay is rife in our region and that is why Dumfries and Galloway Council has been working for some time to alleviate the problems faced by people living in poverty in our region, including our ground-breaking Anti-poverty strategy. “

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