A STAGGERING 468 businesses in Brighton and Hove have now signed up to the Living Wage campaign.

Living Wage week finished at the weekend and the new rates are now £10.55 per hour for London and £9 per hour for the rest of the UK.

The Brighton and Hove Living Wage campaign recently hit the milestone of 450 sign-ups and has been responsible for raising wages of more than 3,100 people in the six years since it began.

It is led and managed by Brighton Chamber, supported by Unison and Brighton and Hove City Council,

The 450th employer to sign up was health and beauty shop Bare Biology.

Founder Melanie Lawson said: “We have always paid well above the Living Wage from the very start.

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable paying people any less and it’s important to me that my employees feel valued and have a good standard of living.

“As a small business, it’s not always easy to pay people well, but it’s important to behave with honour and integrity.

“Businesses which put kindness before profit will ultimately win, even if it takes a little longer.”

The new rates are calculated independently by the Resolution Foundation.

They are based on the cost of leading a decent life, using the best available data on average living costs.

The Government’s national Living Wage is lower at £7.83 per hour.

In a recent survey, more than 60 per cent of Brighton’s Living Wage employers said that paying the Living Wage fosters good staff morale.

The campaign was praised for offering positive PR and help with recruitment.

Some 88 per cent said it has an all-round positive impact on their workers.

Paying the Living Wage has been shown to have a number of benefits for companies.

These include significantly lower rates of staff turnover, substantial cost savings on recruitment and induction training, reduced absence and sickness levels and increased morale and higher productivity.

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas said: “I’m immensely proud of the many employers in Brighton and Hove who subscribe to the Living Wage Campaign.

“They show that, even when times are tough, it’s possible to pay fairly and tackle inequality while maintaining economic competitiveness.

“Those businesses reflect values that have become synonymous with our city – that fierce sense of fairness, of working for the common good: that’s Brighton and Hove.

“I’ll continue to back the Living Wage, and I encourage all businesses to subscribe to it.”

Hove and Portslade MP Peter Kyle said: “Many employers are trailblazing in their efforts to tackle in-work poverty, after all it makes sense to do so.

“Actions like the Brighton and Hove Living Wage Campaign bring these pioneers of fair pay together to transform how our city’s employers approach remuneration.”

Brighton Chamber hosted a special pop-up breakfast at Living Wage employer and charity Emmaus.

Guests heard from chief executive Christine Squince and business manager Joel Lewis about their life-changing work with the homeless and exciting plans for the future of Emmaus.

Recently with the help of Brighton Chamber, Councillor Nancy Platts wrote to the Brighton and Hove City Council supply chain in a bid to recruit new sign-ups.

This resulted in ten immediate sign-ups with more to come.

A chamber spokesman said: “Every sign up makes the campaign stronger. Joining the campaign is quick and free. If your business pays all its employees £9 per hour or more, head to www.livingwagebrighton.co.uk/sign-up/ and fill out your details.”

In 2011, Councillor Bill Randall formed the Living Wage Commission for Brighton and Hove.