Santander UK and Virgin Money join companies helping staff cope with cost of living crisis

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A Santander sign is displayed outside Santander House, in Milton Keynes, Britain October 11, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

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LONDON, July 19 (Reuters) – The UK arm of Spanish lender Santander (SAN.MC) said on Tuesday it would give a 4% pay rise to around 11,000 UK-based staff to help them cope to the rising cost of living, as inflation crippled household budgets across Britain and beyond.

“This 4% salary increase will make a real difference to the majority of our customer-facing and contact center staff who are committed to helping our customers and businesses thrive in the current economic climate,” general manager Mike Regnier said in a statement.

All employees earning less than 35,000 pounds ($41,958) will be eligible for the raise, which covers 60% of the bank‘s UK workforce, Santander said.

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The bank also said it would raise its entry-level salaries to 19,500 pounds from August 1.

Santander joins a chorus of banks including Barclays (BARC.L), Lloyds Banking Group and NatWest (NWG.L) announcing similar pay rises for the lowest paid staff after inflation in Britain peaked of 40 years of 9.1% in May. Read more

British challenger bank Virgin Money (VMUK.L) also said on Tuesday it would give nearly four-fifths of its workforce a one-time cost-of-living payment of £1,000 in their August pay packets.

The payment, which follows an average 5% increase in base salary in January, is not linked to the annual salary review or bonuses from the lender. All staff earning £50,000 or less will be eligible and part-time workers will receive the same payment as their full-time colleagues.

“The rising cost of living is on everyone’s mind, whether in political circles, in the media or in the local supermarket,” chief executive David Duffy said in a staff memo.

Virgin Money has already launched several initiatives to help staff manage their finances, including offering full flexibility on working from home, which has helped reduce travel costs for many employees, a spokesperson said.

($1 = 0.8342 pounds)

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Reporting by Sinead Cruise; Editing by Susan Fenton

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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