Scot’s Living Wage awareness leads the UK -KPMG

KPMGAlmost 90 per cent of adults in Scotland have heard of the Living Wage, making it the most Living Wage conscious region in the UK, according to new research commissioned by accountants KPMG.

The survey, which looked at social mobility, polled 4,500 adults and 500 16-17 years olds across the UK. At a national level, almost 80 per cent of adults and 60 per cent of 16-17 year olds in the UK have heard of the Living Wage – 10 per cent lower than in Scotland.

The findings come as the campaign for Living Wage makes significant inroads in Scotland, which now has one of the highest proportion of earners in the UK being paid above Living Wage.

However, with the UK General Election less than a fortnight away, the research found nearly one third (29 per cent) of Scottish people think there is more to be done by Government to get households out of poverty, and cited this as the biggest issue facing them.

Jenny Stewart, head of infrastructure and government and spokesperson for Living Wage at KPMG in Scotland, said: “It’s clear from the research that ensuring the lowest paid in society are treated fairly should be near the top of the agenda for Government and for employers alike.

“With all the main political parties citing action on Living Wage in their manifestos, we have moved a long way since the 2010 election and the pace of change is accelerating. With nearly a quarter of the FTSE 100 now accredited more and more employers are reaping the benefit of joining this movement. The next big challenge will be to educate employees, customers, suppliers and clients about the range of enterprises who are Accredited so they too can exercise informed choice.”

Carla McCormack Policy and Parliamentary Officer at the Poverty Alliance, said: “Today’s report for KPMG is welcome news for Scotland. The fact that so many people in Scotland are aware of the Living Wage is testament to the hard work of the Scottish Living Wage Campaign, the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative and grassroots campaigns across the country.

“With almost two thirds of children in poverty living in a household where someone works, payment of the Living Wage is becoming a more important issue than ever before. Over 400,000 people in Scotland are trapped in low pay, and through the Campaign and Accreditation Initiative we are seeking to ensure that everyone gets a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

“Traditionally work has been seen as a route out of poverty, but low wages mean that for many this is no longer the case. While there is much to celebrate in today’s report, the fact that 19 per cent of Scotland’s work force still earn below the Living Wage means there is still a considerable way to go.”

At a national level the survey also found seven out of 10 UK adults would consciously shop in favour of a Living Wage accredited retail chain – a rise of more than 10 percent in less than 12 months. However, 18-24 year olds said they were least likely to consciously shop in favour of the Living Wage with four out of 10 still wanting cheaper goods irrespective of the impact on staff.

The study went on to find that 60 per cent of adult men and 70 per cent of adult women cite, employers not paying enough as the reason people in the UK are living in poverty compared to 55 per cent of 16-17 year olds.

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