Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan today (Monday November 6) welcomed the new Scottish Living Wage rate of £8.75 and encouraged more employers throughout the Western Isles to sign up as accredited Living Wage Employers.

This came as the local MSP visited Lewis Builders to congratulate them on becoming one of the latest island firms to sign up to the Living Wage.

The Scottish Living Wage, calculated to meet the cost of living, is reviewed every year based on living standards. Alasdair Allan is himself an accredited Living Wage employer, and works with the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative to promote the Living Wage.

Alasdair Allan MSP said: “I would like to thank Lewis Builders and their staff for today’s very informative visit, as well as their commitment to fair pay and showing leadership on this issue within the local business community.

“I fully support payment of the Living Wage and the real benefits to our economy of treating people who work more fairly.

“I would encourage all organisations in the Isles, regardless of size or sector to recognise the benefits of paying ensuring all staff receive a fair level of pay.”

Ewen MacLean from Lewis Builders said:  “It was great having Dr Allan in to our office today. He took a very keen interest in what we had to say and that’s great acknowledgement of the commitment we are making to our staff.

“We currently hire 62 employees and at our peak when we signed up to the initiative last November we were hiring 68 so it is a big commitment but we really appreciate the work that is being done and just how difficult it can be given today’s economy. I hope companies now follow in our footsteps and become living wage employers.”

Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation said:  “Year-on-year, we see organisations and businesses across the UK embracing the real Living Wage as they recognise that a fair day’s pay is not only the right thing so to but can improve the quality of staff’s work, reduce absenteeism and increase motivation and retention.

“Today’s increase acknowledges that the cost of living continues to rise for workers everywhere and the leadership shown by businesses who welcome this is a cause for celebration during Living Wage Week, sending a positive message to the business community to show what others can achieve.”