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Dundee could be UK's first 'living wage' city

March 10, 2019

A plan has been launched to make Dundee the first "living wage city" in the UK.

Employers have joined forces in order to boost the number of jobs which pay the voluntary living wage of £9.

More than 50 employers in Dundee have already committed to paying their staff and subcontractors the living wage, covering a quarter of all workers in the city.

Minister Jamie Hepburn said: "The significance of the living wage cannot be overstated."

An alliance has been formed between the city council, DC Thomson and the local chamber of commerce among other employers to carry out the voluntary living wage plan.

It comes more than a year after the Scottish government set out plans to make Scotland a "living wage nation" over the next three years.

Measures include a regionally focused accreditation scheme for employers to create the UK's "first living wage towns, cities and regions".

The voluntary living wage increased last year to £9, more than £1 an hour above the National Living Wage of £7.83.

Dundee has faced hard times: in January 2018, the End Child Poverty Coalition published a report revealing the city has one of the worst child poverty rates in Scotland, with more than 8,000 children – 28 per cent – growing up below the poverty line.

In November 2018, 845 Michelin factory workers were made redundant when the French firm closed its factory in the city. The department of work and pensions published figures in February showing 4,421 people aged 16-64– 4.5 per cent of the eligible workforce – are currently unemployed in Dundee.

Dundee has had to think creatively to combat poverty and unemployment. The city is in the midst of a £1bn development project of its waterfront, including the recent opening of the Scottish V&A and an expected growth of 7,000 jobs.

Dundee can take inspiration from other UK cities championing real living wage and local development. Jobs and prosperity in Preston are on the rise with many local firms already paying Real Living Wage. Preston council announced on Wednesday it will launch a program to grow worker-owned businesses in the city – investing £1m in rent free premises for independent businesses and fostering a local outlook.

Even as other city councils sell their community spaces to pay redundancy packages, Dundee and Preston are finding ways to boost growth and keep workers out of poverty.



Resources:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-47463090
https://www.bigissue.com/latest/finance/dundee-is-becoming-the-uks-first-real-living-wage-city/

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