BUILDING society Nationwide – which employs 700 people in Bournemouth – has become a Living Wage employer.

The mutual is also becoming a principal partner of the Living Wage Foundation, which encourages other employers to pay a minimum hourly rate of £7.65.

The figure is aimed at reflecting the true cost of living in the UK, where the minimum wage is £6.31.

Alison Robb, group director at Nationwide, said: “It’s fantastic to have committed to become a principal partner of the Living Wage Foundation and we are looking forward to working with the foundation to encourage other employers to sign up in future.

“Nationwide’s Living Wage accreditation shows our commitment to doing the right thing by our people and we are proud to take a leading role in the campaign for fairer pay.”

Living Wage Foundation director Rhys Moore said: “As the UK’s largest building society, this move brings the Living Wage to high streets across the country and showcases that the best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now.

“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.

“The national minimum wage (NMW) provides an effective robust minimum floor for wages and has all but eliminated extremely low pay in the UK.

“One side effect is that we now see rates of pay at the lower end of the market clustered at or just above the NMW. The Living Wage provides a recognised benchmark for employers who are able to pay more.”

Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns said: “I am pleased to see employers who can afford to pay the Living Wage doing the right thing by their staff.

“Nationwide employs 700 people in Bournemouth and some of these will benefit from the increase to the Living Wage.

“This means people here will have a little bit more in their pockets to spend with local businesses.”

Nationwide says the move will benefit around 850 of its staff across the country, most of whom are contract workers from third-party suppliers.