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25 March 2015, 12:25
A target for having 150 firms across Scotland all paying staff the Living Wage has been reached early, the Scottish Government has announced.
Ministers had set the goal of having that number of companies accredited as Living Wage employers by the end of the year.
Roseanna Cunningham, the Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training, said that hitting that target so quickly "clearly demonstrates the interest and commitment'' to the scheme.
The Living Wage is currently set at £7.85 an hour, higher than the current national minimum wage level of £6.50 an hour.
Ms Cunningham said: "It has only been a few short months since Scotland's 100th Living Wage employer was confirmed and hitting another milestone so quickly clearly demonstrates the interest in and commitment to the Living Wage in this country.''
She spoke out as she visited door and window contractor CMS at the company's headquarters in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire, after it confirmed it will pay all of its 200-plus workforce the Living Wage, making it the 150th accredited employer in Scotland.
Ms Cunningham said: "CMS are expanding quickly and have shown that ensuring their staff are paid fairly is no barrier to business growth.
"The Scottish Government fully supports the Living Wage campaign and we recognise the difference it can make to the working people of Scotland.
"We have given the Poverty Alliance additional funding and we are now well ahead of our target to have 150 accredited bodies by the end of the year.
"While are not able to set pay levels outwith our own public sector pay policy, we encourage all public, private and third sector organisations to ensure all staff on lower incomes receive a fair level of pay.''
Andy Kerr, managing director of CMS, said: "Signing up to the Living Wage benefits us as a business in so many ways.
"Most importantly, the Living Wage is particularly helpful to our young workers whose role in our long-term business success cannot be understated.
"As our strong growth continues through new commercial, social housing and housebuilding contracts across Scotland, we must continue to invest in today's young workers who will be the ones taking us forward in five, ten or twenty years from now. That's why the Living Wage is so important.''
Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said it had been "delighted with the response from employers across Scotland to the Living Wage''.
He added: "All of those who have become accredited Living Wage employers over the last year understand the benefits that it brings to both their staff and employees.
"CMS have helped us reach another important milestone in the movement to address low pay across Scotland. We look forward to working with even more employers in the year ahead.''