"Making Living Wage Places". Dundee Becomes First UK City to be Recognised for Living Wage ambition

An alliance of prominent employers in Dundee has today launched an Action Plan setting out how they will work together on "Making Dundee a Living Wage City" in partnership with Living Wage Scotland. They become the first city to adopt a new, place-based approach to driving uptake of the real Living Wage by local businesses.

The alliance includes major local employers such as Dundee City Council, Dundee Voluntary Action, Dundee & Angus College, Xplore Dundee and Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce. 

Over 50 Dundee employers have already voluntarily committed to ensure all their staff and subcontracted staff receive a real Living Wage of £9.00 an hour, significantly higher than the government minimum of £7.83.

The 50 Living Wage employers already accredited in Dundee cover the equivalent to a quarter of all workers in the city. The Action Plan launched today sets out how the alliance intends to double the number of workers covered by Living Wage accreditation in Dundee over the next three years.

The Action Plan includes commitments to:

  • Sign up other major employers in the city
  • Encourage employers in retail and hospitality to commit to the real Living Wage
  • Support and celebrate small businesses who join the Living Wage employer movement

The Scottish Government's Fair Work Minister Jamie Hepburn said:

"It is fantastic to see Dundee setting out its ambition to become the UK's first 'Living Wage City'."

"The significance of the Living Wage cannot be overstated. Evidence shows that paying it leads to increased productivity, better morale and lower sickness absence. It also demonstrates to the world that an organisation is committed to treating its workforce well."

"While Scotland is making good progress in becoming a Living Wage nation, and punches well above its weight in terms of the proportion of people paid at least the Living Wage, more remains to be done. The Scottish Government is committed to doing everything in our power to put fair work and equality at the heart of our labour market."

John Alexander, Leader of Dundee City Council who are part of the alliance said:

"In Dundee we are incredibly proud to be championing the real Living Wage and implementing this new approach to encourage more local businesses to pay the real Living Wage.

"The city council is one of the largest Living Wage employers in the city, ensuring that all our workers receive a fair day's pay for a hard day's work."

"I am aware that there is still more to do and we will work with partners to encourage and support more employers in the city to pay the real Living Wage."

Lynn Anderson, Living Wage Places National Coordinator at Living Wage Scotland said:

"We are delighted to launch the 'Making Living Wage Places' scheme and recognise Dundee as the first city in the UK to adopt the approach."

"This scheme encourages local employers to work together to promote the benefits of paying the real Living Wage to other businesses.  The alliance of local Living Wage employers in Dundee have produced an impressive Action Plan which should see thousands of workers in Dundee benefit from pay increases to the real Living Wage over the next three years, and recognition of this is well deserved".

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, who host Living Wage Scotland, said:

"The commitment of this alliance of employers to the people of Dundee is hugely exciting. We look forward to working with them on making Dundee a Living Wage city. We want to see towns and cities in Scotland work with us to put an end to low pay, and this is the first step on that journey."

Ellis Watson, Executive Chairman of DC Thomson Media and Chairman of Tay Cities Enterprise Executive, said:

"DC Thomson made a conscious decision to pay all of our direct employees the real Living Wage around five years ago. Having seen the difference it makes to people's lives, we extended it to all of our group companies and agency colleagues regularly working in our offices, signing up as an accredited Living Wage employer in 2017.

"In these times of economic uncertainty across the UK, it is heartening to see Dundee taking the lead in tackling low pay, and the inequality it creates, by becoming the UK's first city formally recognised for its Living Wage ambition. Being part of this initiative allows us to work with other like-minded employers to help transform the city and ensure local people benefit from and have a stake in the local community. "Businesses only thrive when those that work for them and buy from them are prospering too."

Douglas White, Head of Advocacy, Carnegie UK Trust said:

"The Carnegie UK Trust has been delighted to support the development of the Making Living Wage Places scheme and we are thrilled that Dundee is the first place in the UK to make this highly important commitment. We look forward to seeing the progress the city makes and to many other places following Dundee's impressive lead."

Clare Goff, Living Wage Places Project Manager at the Living Wage Foundation said:

"Major employers within Dundee are working together to improve the lives of citizens and boost the local economy by making a real Living Wage the norm."

"The Living Wage Foundation has launched the 'Making Living Wage Places' scheme to recognise groups of local 'anchor' institutions which not only pay the Living Wage to their employers and contractors, but which also seek to use their power and influence to spread Living Wage accreditation through their local area."


Media Contact

Julie McGahan, Living Wage Scotland Manager: julie.mcgahan@povertyalliance.org  

Mobile: 07776 527 841
Landline: 0141 353 0440



  • The current real Living Wage for the UK outside of London was announced on 5th November 2018, and is £9.00 per hour. The figures are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence on living standards in London and the UK.  
  • As of March 2019, there are 51 accredited Living Wage employers in Dundee, together they employ an estimated 15,926 workers, equivalent to 25% of Dundee's economically active workforce: https://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/city-plan-for-dundee-2017-2026
  • Over the past 4 years, over 36,000 people in Scotland have had a pay rise as a result of their employer becoming accredited as a Living Wage employer. For an example of one of them click here: https://youtu.be/MaagH0UPXNo. £63.5m in extra wages have gone into workers' pockets in Scotland since the voluntary movement began.
  • More than 1300 employers headquartered in Scotland have become accredited. Accreditation is voluntary.  In the UK as a whole, there are almost 5000 accredited employers.
  • Accredited Living Wage employers in Scotland span private, public and third sectors. Prominent accredited employers include SSE, Standard Life, Barrs and Mackies. SMEs make up 75% of the total number of employers and half of Scotland's local councils accredited. Find out more at www.scottishlivingwage.org/accredited.
  • In 2018, there were 470,000 workers aged 18+ earning less than the real Living Wage (£8.75), which is 19.4% of the working population:https://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Labour-Market/Earnings/ASHE-SCOT-2017
  • Living Wage Scotland launched in 2014 and is hosted by The Poverty Alliance, in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation, funded by the Scottish Government. Development of the "Making Living Wage Places" scheme was supported by the Carnegie UK Trust: https://www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk/project/living-wage-places/