Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown and Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray have called on the UK and Scottish Governments to champion a living wage which will benefit many low-paid employees in the local area.
The UK living wage increased by 20p to £7.85 an hour, 21% higher than the compulsory National Minimum Wage of £6.50 an hour. The living wage is an informal benchmark rather than the legally enforceable national minimum wage.
The average hourly pay, excluding overtime, for all full time workers in Dumfries and Galloway in 2013 was £10.92, lower than the Scottish average of £12.87 and the British average of £13.08.
Russell Brown MP said: “With the average hourly wage being nearly £2.00 below the Scottish average in Dumfries and Galloway, the fairer living wage would make a big difference to the lives of many people and families in our region.
“If elected in 2015, a Labour Government will increase the minimum wage to £8.00 an hour by the end of the next parliament, giving local businesses a clear, long term target and time to plan and adapt their business.
“However, right now we want to encourage businesses to pay their employees a living wage which will reward a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay and help fight the cost of living crisis. The Scottish and UK Governments need to act on delivering a living wage to the people of Dumfries & Galloway now.”