Fair Work milestone

Record number of Real Living Wage employers in Scotland.

The number of Scottish employers registered as paying the real Living Wage has hit a new high of 3,500.

The milestone was reached ahead of the tenth anniversary of Living Wage Scotland, a programme launched by Poverty Alliance with Scottish Government funding to encourage more firms to pay the real Living Wage. The rate is reviewed annually and currently stands at £12 an hour.

Proportionately, Scotland has around five times more accredited real Living Wage employers than the rest of the UK. Latest statistics also show nearly 90% of workers aged over 18 in Scotland are paid the real Living Wage or above – the highest percentage in the UK.

On a visit to one of the most recently accredited firms, Atlas Winch & Hoist Services in Biggar, South Lanarkshire, Wellbeing Economy Secretary Màiri McAllan thanked the growing number of employers committed to keeping pace with the real Living Wage. 

Ms McAllan said:

“Fair Work is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s ambition to move towards a wellbeing economy that benefits employees and the planet alongside traditional economic indicators. More than 64,000 workers have had a pay rise as a result of accreditation, making a real and ongoing impact for people in Scotland.  

“All public sector grants in Scotland now include a requirement for recipients to pay the real Living Wage and provide appropriate channels for workers to raise concerns. We firmly oppose the inappropriate use of zero hours contracts and other types of employment that offer workers minimal job or financial security.

“While employment powers are reserved to the UK Government, we will continue to use our Fair Work policy to drive up labour market standards for workers across Scotland. Fair Work is good for workers, good for employers and good for the economy. Every firm which has declared its intention to be a real Living Wage employer provides peace of mind for its staff, particularly during the cost of living crisis. I thank all the 3,500 Scottish businesses that have now taken that step.”

Atlas Winch & Hoist Services director Conor Lavery said:

“We have long paid at least the real Living Wage as it helps to attract and retain a motivated team. As a rural company it is very important to retain the right people and the real Living Wage helps support this. We recently decided to seek real Living Wage accreditation to signal our ongoing commitment to our staff, some of whom have been with us for more than 20 years. We want to do as much as we can to support our workforce and try to be as flexible as we can, understanding life’s challenges outside of work.” 

Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly said:

“The Poverty Alliance believes in a wellbeing economy beyond the injustice of in-work poverty. Thanks to the leadership of more than 3,500 accredited Living Wage employers in Scotland we are now able to celebrate a decade of incredible impact. The real Living Wage provides a stronger foundation for workers to build better lives for themselves and their households, and a better Scotland for all of us. We commend every employer that has chosen to join the Living Wage movement: they are paving the way to a new kind of economy, where more workers earn what they need to thrive, and we encourage employers not yet accredited to get in touch.”


Poverty Alliance set up Living Wage Scotland in April 2014 aiming to increase the number of employers in Scotland who are recognised for paying the real Living Wage. Living Wage Scotland is a partnership with the Living Wage Foundation and receives funding from the Scottish Government.

Scotland has the highest proportion of workers aged 18 and over who are paid the real Living Wage at 89.9% - ahead of 87.1% in Wales, 87% in England and 84.4% in Northern Ireland.

The Scottish Government achieved real Living Wage employer status in 2015, the first government in the UK.

Atlas Winch & Hoist launched in 1998 and employs 19 staff, 16 of whom are based in Scotland.


Media enquiries

Back to top