Nearly 3,000 firms paying voluntary Living Wage

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The number of firms paying the voluntary Living Wage is approaching 3,000 after a consortium of housing providers agreed to pay the higher rate.

Efficiency North, based in South Yorkshire, has committed to pay permanent employees and contractors an hourly wage of £8.45, higher than the National Living Wage of £7.20 for over-25s.

Living Wage Foundation director Katherine Chapman said: "We are pleased that a housing organisation recognises the value of paying the Living Wage, especially when housing costs can account for a big slice of earnings.

"The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the real Living Wage. The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day's work with a fair day's pay.

"Nearly 3,000 leading employers have signed up to pay the voluntary real Living Wage, ranging from independent printers, bookshops and breweries, to well-known companies such as Nationwide, Aviva and Ikea.

"These businesses recognise that paying the Government minimum is not good business. Customers and workers expect and deserve better than that."