Living wage vital

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I emphatically agree with your editorial (6 November). As it says, the Scottish Government and the Mayor of London are to be congratulated for their renewed support for the living wage.

What I fail to understand, however, is the knee-jerk reaction of the business world. While I accept that many businesses are contending with weak markets, rising costs and a bleak economic outlook, this is equally true for most households.

Despite this, business are crying out for people to spend more (as are both the UK and Scottish Governments) in the hope that retail-led growth will pull us out of recession.

Well, the fact is that you can’t spend what you don’t have any more.

Putting more money into the hands of the lowest-paid workers will boost local businesses and local economies.

A living wage can help families escape poverty, support local communities and reduce reliance on public services and private debt. It’s a no brainer.

There are benefits for employers too. Research by Queen Mary, University of London found that 54 per cent of employees felt more positive about their workplace once the living wage was introduced and 52 per cent felt more loyal, with staff leaving rates falling by 25 per cent.

John Downie

Scottish Council for 
Voluntary Organisations

Mansfield Place