Mersey bar operator first in NW to pay Living Wage

A Merseyside operator of two popular bars says it is the first in the North West to offer all of its staff aged 18 and over the Living Wage of £9.50 an hour. Tony McDonough reports

Blind Pig
There are two Blind Pig bars in Wirral, operated by Scofflaw & Harding


A Merseyside bar operator says it is the first in the North West to pledge to pay its staff the Living Wage.

Many workers in the hospitality sector are paid the minimum legal wage. From April 2021, this will be £8.91 per for people aged 23 and above, £8.36 for 21 and 22-year-olds and £6.56 for 18 to 20-year-olds.

However, more than more than 7,000 employers in the UK have committed to paying their staff the Living Wage Foundation’s recommended £9.50 an hour (£10.85 for people working in London).

Now Wirral-based Scofflaw & Harding, which operates two Blind Pig bars in Telegraph Road in Heswall and Banks Road in West Kirby, has pledged to pay all its staff aged 18 and above the Living Wage rate of £9.50 an hour.

Just five employers in the North West’s hospitality sector have pledged to “deliver a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work” and become accredited employers with the Living Wage Foundation. It is believed Blind Pig is the first bar in the region.

Matt and Hannah Whitby formed Scofflaw & Harding in 2018, taking the name from two prohibition-era Chicago bootleggers. The flagship Blind Pig opened the same year in Heswall and specialises in unique cocktails and unusual flavoured gins and spirits.

The second Blind Pig opened on Banks Road in West Kirby in October 2019 and held a grand opening party with DJ Fast from New York band Fun Lovin’ Criminals. The pair have worked in the hospitality sector for almost a decade and Hannah is also a qualified therapeutic and children’s mental health counsellor.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Matt and Hannah have operated a popular online service and have delivered their signature cocktails, gins and glassware all over Wirral and nationwide, as well as holding cocktail masterclasses on Zoom.

Blind Pig has also partnered with Heswall Hall to provide its drinks and service at the events venue on Telegraph Road. Hannah said: “We are delighted to become an accredited Living Wage employer. This means every member of staff working for Scofflaw & Harding will earn higher than the Government minimum.

“We have an exceptionally skilled team of expert cocktail makers and experienced managers and we are very pleased to be giving each member of our Blind Pig service team a pay rise.”

The real Living Wage is the only rate calculated according to the costs of living and in the North West nearly a quarter of all jobs (around 584,000) pay less than the minimum amount. It provides a voluntary benchmark for employers that wish to ensure their staff earn a wage they can live on, not just the government minimum.

Laura Gardiner, director of Living Wage Foundation, added: “We’re delighted that Scofflaw & Harding’s Blind Pig bars have joined the movement of 7,000 responsible employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to go further than the government minimum to make sure all their staff earn enough to live on.

“These businesses recognise that paying the real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer and they, like Matt and Hannah, believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”

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