Council bosses will now pay staff the new real Living Wage five months early as of this week.

The new rate of £9.90 per hour was announced on Monday – to mark the start of Living Wage Week – which will affect 751 council employees in predominantly frontline roles.

Council Leader Joe Cullinane, Cabinet Member for Community Wealth Building, said: “I am proud to lead a council which has a long-standing commitment to fair work and pay.

“In doing so, we acknowledge that earning the real Living Wage can make a huge difference to people’s lives.

“Normally, the new rate doesn’t kick in for quite a few months but here at North Ayrshire Council, we have ensured our staff get paid the new rate as soon as possible – a commitment we have delivered on since I became Leader.

“Not only is paying employees a wage that supports a decent standard of living an ethical and responsible thing to do, but there are also clear business and economic benefits in doing so.

“That’s why fair work is one of the key pillars in our Community Wealth Building approach. As North Ayrshire’s largest employer, we have to lead by

example and hopefully inspire other businesses and organisations to consider committing to paying the real Living Wage.”

The Council has paid the real Living Wage since 2011 and is one of a number of local authorities from across Scotland to be officially accredited by the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative.

The Living Wage is an independently calculated figure which is updated annually to reflect the basic cost of living in the UK.