Lidl has become the first UK grocery retailer to pay its staff more than the current rate recommended by the Living Wage Foundation.

From October, Lidl UK employees will earn a minimum of £8.20 an hour across England, Scotland and Wales and £9.35 an hour in London.

The Living Wage Foundation’s current recommended minimal hourly rate is £7.85, and £9.15 inside London.

The rate is above the government’s official National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour for over 25s, which is due to be enforced in April.

Currently, Lidl pays its staff a minimum of £7.30 an hour and £8.03 an hour inside London.

Ronny Gottschlich, Lidl UK CEO said: “We recognise that every employee forms an integral part of team Lidl, and each individual’s contribution is valued.

“It’s therefore only right that we show our commitment, in the same way that the team commit to the business and our customers each and every day, by ensuring a wage that supports the cost of living.

“As a result, Lidl employees will be amongst the best paid in the supermarket sector, and that’s something I feel incredibly proud about.”

Earlier this month Sainsbury’s announced a 4% pay rise for in-store staff to bring their salaries to above the government’s National Living Wage.

From 30 August 137,000 employees saw their pay increase to £7.36 an hour, up from £7.08. The new rate also applies to staff under the age of 25.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast News this morning Gottschlich also outlined plans for significant expansion.

Lidl currently has 620 stores across the UK, but there was potential for up to 280 stores to operate in London alone, and up to 1,500 across the UK, he said.