A CAMPAIGN to promote a Living Wage has reached a "significant milestone" after the Nationwide Building Society became the first major high street name to sign up to the scheme.

The company pledged to pay all its permanent staff, contractors and temporary workers, at least £7.65 an hour, or £8.80 in London, well above the minimum wage of £6.31. The Nationwide is one of the biggest employers to support the Living Wage, taking the total number to over 650 since the launch of the initiative in 2001. A survey commissioned by the building society showed 16% of people earned below the Living Wage, increasing to one in five in lower social grades. The poll of over 1500 adults revealed that fewer than one in 10 believed they could live reasonably on the national minimum wage.

People in lower social groups said if they were paid the Living Wage, they would spend the difference on food, paying bills, or saving. Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: "We are delighted to welcome Nationwide to the Living Wage movement as both principal partners of the Living Wage Foundation and accredited employers."

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