A WINCHESTER-based energy company has been commended for its commitment to staff wages.

Utilita, based on Moorside Road, has been accredited as a ‘Living Wage’ employer which aims to pay its 150 members of staff a wage which reflects the cost of living in Winchester and annual inflation.

The voluntary scheme came into effect on Tuesday (July 1) seeing every employee receive a minimum hourly wage of £7.65 regardless of their contract.

The current national minimum wage is £6.31.

Living Wage Director Rhys Moore said: “The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now. The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.”

The Living Wage campaign has been running for ten years.

Bill Bullen, Utilita’s managing director, said: “Utilita is pleased to be part of the move to the Living Wage. It's important to us that all our staff can afford a reasonable standard of living, hopefully that will reduce stress, and improve productivity.”

The company also works with local charities to help organise fundraising events. Over the last year members of staff have volunteered at Winchester’s Lanterns Children’s Centre and supported Home-Start hosting a range of activities raising £5,000 for the cause.

Anne Macpherson, Home-Start co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted with the way that Utilita has been working with Home-Start Winchester over the last year. Their staff volunteers have made a huge practical difference to our Family Group and have helped us to make a morning of play with young families even more rewarding.

“We look forward to continuing this relationship with Utilita, a company which clearly values fairness and understands the importance of helping families to gain the confidence they need to eventually manage without support.”