Ambitious Plan to make Eildon Locality a Living Wage Place

The Scottish Borders Living Wage Group has announced that the locality area of Eildon will benefit from a local approach to encourage more employers to commit to the real Living Wage.

29 employers across the Scottish Borders region are now accredited Living Wage employers including, institutions with a significant local link to the Eildon locality, such as Scottish Borders Housing Association, Eildon Housing Association, Scottish Borders College and Scottish Borders Council.

Eildon is one of five Scottish Borders localities and includes Galashiels, Melrose, Tweedbank, Selkirk, Lauder, Earlston and Newtown St Boswells.

Scottish Borders Council became an accredited Living Wage employer during Living Wage Week 2019, and one year on, has announced they will be working with other employers to develop ambitions plans to make Eildon a Living Wage Place.

Living Wage Scotland are supporting the group to apply for Eildon to be recognised as part of the Making Living Wage Places scheme. The scheme recognises ambitious place approaches to grow the Living Wage movement which saw Dundee recognised for its Living Wage City plans, and Glenrothes for its Living Wage Town plans. Places outside of Scotland recognised as part of the Making Living Wage Places scheme include Cardiff, Salford, Bristol and Southwark. Recognition as part of the scheme could mark Eildon as the first rural place in the UK to be recognised for their plans to become a Living Wage Place.

Living Wage Week (9-15 November) is an annual celebration of the Living Wage in the UK. The new Living Wage rate for the UK was announced as part of Living Wage Week and is now £9.50 per hour. This is 78p higher than the national living wage, which is the legal minimum that applies to workers from the age of 25. A full-time worker earning the real Living Wage will earn over £1500 per year compared to the UK governments national living wage.

Cllr Robin Tatler, Chair of the Scottish Borders Living Wage Group said:

“Employers based in our Scottish Borders communities care about their people and want to ensure they are looked after. In the precarious economic context we are operating in, it’s important that local businesses are resilient and sustainable in the long term. By encouraging more employers to commit to the real Living Wage this could make a significant difference to the resilience of our local workforce and our local economy. We look forward to working with employers in the Eildon locality, to support them in their Living Wage aspirations.”

Julia Mulloy, Chief Executive of Scottish Borders Housing Association (SBHA), said:

“Our successful Living Wage accreditation reflects our values as an employer and our commitment to providing decent jobs, reliable incomes and investment in people.

Accreditation is just one part of our commitment to increasing our social impact, alongside providing employment and training opportunities and services that support people in need. By seeking accreditation we can all have an enormous impact on the standard of living of people who work for the companies we engage, as well as on both the local and national economy.

As a major investor in the local economy, we welcome the opportunity to work with employers who commit to the living wage, and we hope that like many in our sector, by being a positive example, we can strengthen the commitment to the living wage across Scotland.”

Business and Fair Work Minister Jamie Hepburn said: 

“I am pleased to hear that Scottish Borders Council has announced its intention to make the Eildon locality a Living Wage Place. “Eildon is starting the journey that has been completed by Dundee and Glenrothes when they became part of Make Living Wage Places.

“The Scottish Government has long championed the payment of the Living Wage and the real benefits to our people, communities and economy of treating people more fairly. I congratulate Scottish Borders Council and the people of the Eildon area for their commitment to the real Living Wage.”

Lynn Anderson, Interim Manager at Living Wage Scotland said:

“Accredited Living Wage employers in the Scottish Borders are recognising the importance of employee wellbeing, motivation, and resilience as an essential element for local economic recovery in the months and years ahead.

We know that when employers become Living Wage accredited, the positive impact on their staff and their supply chains is significant. These benefits are amplified for local areas when employers work collaboratively to champion the real Living Wage to others in that place. We look forward to working closely with the Scottish Borders Living Wage Group to develop an ambitious set of local actions for making Eildon a Living Wage Place.”

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance said:

“It’s a challenging time for us all, and it’s not right that low paid workers are worrying about bills, especially when working in essential roles that are keeping our society going. It’s more important than ever to do all that we can to protect incomes and ensure workers have enough to cover their everyday needs.

The real Living Wage is a voluntary commitment by employers and it’s fantastic to see accredited Living Wage employers in the Scottish Borders going further for the benefit of their local economies, to develop place approaches to help ensure workers and their families have what they need to thrive in Eildon.”

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