This week (9-15 November) is Living Wage Week, the annual celebration of the Living Wage movement of businesses, organisations and people who believe a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.

And South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has once again given his full backing to the campaign, which he believes is more important than ever as people across Scotland face financial hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new real Living Wage rate of £9.50 was announced on Monday to mark the beginning of Living Wage Week. This rate is independently calculated each year, based on what employees and their families need to live.

This is not to be confused with the compulsory National Living Wage, which is currently £8.72 an hour for anyone over the age of 25.

Employers choose to pay the real Living Wage on a voluntary basis, making sure that everyone can earn a decent standard of living and families have what they need to thrive.

Colin Smyth has already signed up for Living Wage accreditation with Living Wage Scotland, committing to ensure the staff he employs are paid at least the real Living Wage.

He said: “As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, more and more people across the south of Scotland are facing financial hardship. Unemployment is rising, and people are facing the terrible prospect of this pandemic continuing for months and months. It’s a very uncertain and frightening time for a lot of my constituents.

“We know that the real Living Wage is one of the key tools at our disposal to help make an impact on levels of in-work poverty in Scotland and allows those in work to become more included in society, better provide for their families, and feel that their value and hard work is recognised by their employer.

“Living Wage accreditation also leads to a variety of business benefits, including improved brand reputation, recruitment, and retention of staff.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has placed increased financial strain on low-paid workers, and despite the challenges faced, employers are continuing to seek Living Wage accreditation as a signal of their values during these difficult times.”

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