Diageo, the global drinks company and leading producer of Scotch Whisky, are celebrating accreditation as a Living Wage Employer.

Local MSP and Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs & Fair Work, Keith Brown MSP, joined the company at its cooperage in his Clackmannanshire constituency to mark the accreditation, which represents the first major drinks company and the 900th company to achieve the accreditation in Scotland. The company has also gone beyond the terms of the Living Wage accreditation by ensuring that all apprentices it employs in the UK are also paid above the Living Wage rate.

Diageo's apprentice coopers, who are being trained in the centuries-old skills of crafting oak casks for Scotch whisky maturation, yesterday welcomed Mr Brown at the Diageo Cambus Cooperage to celebrate the accreditation.

David Cutter, the Diageo's President of Global Supply & Procurement, said: "Creating shared value for our employees, shareholders and communities is at the heart of everything Diageo does as a business. We value all our employees, working both directly and indirectly at our sites across the UK. For this reason we are pleased to partner with the Living Wage Foundation to become a Living Wage employer and to support the Scottish Government's campaign to promote the Living Wage in Scotland."

Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs & Fair Work, Keith Brown MSP, said: "I am delighted that Diageo has made this commitment to pay all their staff the Living Wage, becoming the 900th accredited employer in Scotland to do so.

"This commitment will mean that all third party contractors working full-time at offices and production sites, in addition to the 5,000 staff across the UK, will benefit from being paid a fair minimum rate.

"There is evidence that paying the Living Wage makes sense for businesses, improving wellbeing and productivity. I would encourage more businesses to recognise the benefits as we progress towards our target of 1,000 Living Wage accredited employers by autumn this year."

This accreditation not only marks the 900 mile stone, but means that one third of the FTSE 100 are now Living Wage accredited employers.

Director of The Poverty Alliance (which delivers Living Wage accreditation in Scotland) Peter Kelly, said: "I would like to congratulate Diageo on its accreditation and commitment to the Living Wage. I hope that other employers in the industry will follow suit and join the growing number of organisations who are recognised for paying a real Living Wage and who see the benefits in terms of retention, recruitment and improved reputation that come with gaining accreditation."

He added: "With more than half of children in poverty in Scotland living in a household where someone works, paying a real Living Wage that reflects the cost of living has never been more important."

Director of the Living Wage Foundation, Katherine Chapman, said: "It's great to see the UK's top businesses leading the way on fair pay: it's clear that successful brands value their employees and recognise the tangible business benefits of paying the real Living Wage. We welcome Diageo to the Living Wage movement and applaud them for voluntarily signed up to pay the real Living Wage which is calculated annually to reflect the real costs of living.

"The Living Wage movement comprises 3,400 UK employers who choose to go further than the government minimum wage to make sure all their staff earn enough to live on. We have lots of small businesses as well as big household names like; IKEA, Aviva, Chelsea and Everton Football Clubs and many more."