The UK's voluntary living wage, the rate promoted by the Living Wage Foundation, has been revised to £8.45 an hour, an increase of 20p an hour.

The Foundation promotes the wage as the minimum people need to meet the real costs of living, and encourages employers to pay at least that rate. Nearly 3,000 across the UK, including 630 in Scotland, have signed up to the scheme.

Its rate compares with the £7.20 an hour for workers aged 25 and over, under the UK Government's National Living Wage introduced in April 2016, and the national minimum wage of £6.95 an hour that still applies to those aged 21 to 24.

Its level is calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation, a not-for-profit research and policy organisation.

The Scottish Government encourages businesses to pay at least the Living Wage, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the new rate.

“The new Living Wage of £8.45 will be a welcome pay rise for thousands of Scottish workers and ensures people’s basic wage continues to meet the real costs of living", she said.

“For business, paying the Living Wage makes sense – it’s an investment in people and all the evidence shows it leads to increased productivity and reduced staff absence and turnover, while sending a strong signal to customers about fairness.

“Yet we also know around 20% of Scotland’s workforce earn less than the Living Wage. With low pay one of the main drivers of in-work poverty, it’s vital that employers who can pay the real Living Wage do so."