Michael Matheson has urged businesses in Falkirk district to sign up to the Scottish Living Wage.

The Falkirk West MSP’s call came after the number of accredited Living Wage employers in Scotland reached 900 when drinks giant Diageo joined the scheme last week.

The Scottish Living Wage, which is independently calculated by the Living Wage Foundation, currently stands at £8.45 an hour – significantly above the UK Government’s minimum wage of £7.50 for workers aged over 25.

There are 10 accredited Living Wage employers in the Falkirk Council area and Mr Matheson encouraged more local businesses to explore the benefits of joining the scheme.

He said: “The real Living Wage can make a huge difference to both workers and employers.

“For employers, paying a wage based on the cost of living is an investment in their people as well as their business, because all the evidence shows it leads to increased productivity, reduced absences and improved staff retention.

“Around 20 per cent of Scotland’s workforce earn less than £8.45 an hour. Low pay is one of the main causes of in-work poverty, so it’s vital that employers who can pay the real Living Wage do so.“

Businesses interested in signing up can find out more at scottishlivingwage.org or by calling the Scottish Living Wage Foundation on 0141 353 0440.