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Highland and Moray travel agent, Inverness Travel, receives Real Living Wage accreditation

By Calum MacLeod

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Scott and Sarah Murray, founders of Inverness Travel, which has gained Real Living Wage accreditation.
Scott and Sarah Murray, founders of Inverness Travel, which has gained Real Living Wage accreditation.

A growing family-owned Highland and Moray travel agency has become the first in the region to sign up to the Real Living Wage scheme.

Inverness Travel has pledged to pay all employees a wage that covers the actual cost of living, exceeding the UK Government’s national living wage.

The announcement comes as Scott Murray – who runs the business along with his wife, Sarah – is shortlisted for the John Hays Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the Travel Industry Awards this week.

Founded by the couple in 2014, the business expanded earlier this year with the acquisition of Moray travel agent Beaver Travel, which had premises in Elgin and Forres, and Inverness-based Alba Travel.

Mr Murray said: “The travel industry has faced some incredibly challenging conditions over the last two years, with rules around international travel changing regularly. Our team has really pulled together to support each other, our customers, and the business through all the uncertainty, and we are so proud of all they have achieved even when things were at their toughest.

“We know, though, that such conditions can be unsettling for those working within the industry, so we have strived to provide a consistent and dependable working environment for our team.

“Gaining Real Living Wage accreditation is just the latest step in our commitment to providing an attractive employment package, not only to thank our hard-working team but also to attract new blood into the travel industry.”

The adoption of the Real Living Wage solidifies Inverness Travel’s commitment to investing in its staff and providing a welcoming working environment, creating an inviting proposition for new talent to enter the travel industry to learn the trade.

Alongside the Real Living Wage, Inverness Travel provides benefits including discounted food and drink, cost-price travel, and an annual seven-day family trip allowance to enable the team to explore new destinations. The firm also holds its own, fully-funded team trips every year, offering the team some downtime together – and the chance to learn about new locations and resorts.

The Real Living Wage is independently calculated each year and is currently set at £9.50 for all employees aged 18 or over. The government’s living wage, meanwhile, is £8.91 for those aged 23 and up. Under the national scheme, those aged 18-23 are only paid a minimum wage of £6.56-£8.36.

Mr and Mrs Murray also co-founded Wanderluxe, a homeworking agency based in Sawbridgeworth, and Mr Murray is managing director of Highland hospitality group, Cru Holdings – which was also recently awarded Real Living Wage accreditation.

The firm's commitment to paying staff the Real Living Wage has been welcomed by Moray MSP Richard Lochhead.

Mr Lochhead commented: “As both local MSP and the minister responsible for fair work, I’m delighted to see another Moray business signing up to pay all of their employees at least the real living wage.

“We know that paying staff a real living wage – rather than the national minimum wage set by the UK Government – is a vital part of reducing in work poverty and that fair work practices like this really do benefit both workers and employers.

“Whilst the large majority of workers in Scotland are paid a real living wage, there are still around 15 per cent whose income is lower than what is needed to have a decent standard of living.

“The owners of Beaver Travel are amongst a growing number of businesses in Moray showing leadership on the living wage. I hope that many more local employers will follow suit and pledge to pay their staff a real living wage.”

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