Mayor announces increase in London Living Wage

04 November 2013

• Number of accredited London companies paying London Living Wage increases 174 per cent

• New sign ups include National Portrait Gallery, Pearson and Oxfam

At the start of National Living Wage Week the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today announced the annual increase in the London Living Wage taking the hourly rate from £8.55 to £8.80 per hour.

The Mayor has worked with the Living Wage Foundation, part of London Citizens, over the past year to encourage even more employers in the city to sign up to the scheme. The number of accredited employers in London paying the Living Wage has soared 174 per cent from 78 to 214, with major new sign ups including National Portrait Gallery, Pearson and Oxfam.

Paying the London Living Wage delivers benefits for individuals and companies. Research from Queen Mary University showed that introducing the London Living Wage improves staff retention rates for firms and more than half of employees feel happier about their place of work. .

The annual rise in the rate, which is calculated by the Mayor’s economics team based on the cost of living in the capital, has been in place since 2005. Since that time it has put around £235 million into the pockets of lower paid Londoners.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “More and more London firms are recognising the benefits of fair remuneration for all of their workforce. Paying the London Living Wage ensures hard working Londoners are helped to make ends meet, providing a boost not only for their personal quality of life but delivering indisputable economic dividends to employers too. This in turn is good for London’s productivity and growth. It is extremely heartening to see major new companies signed up this year but we need more converts. I hope we can spur on even more organisations to do the right thing.’

The London Living Wage is a voluntary scheme that employers can join to ensure that their employees are paid enough to have a decent standard of living. It is based on the basic cost of living in London and the wage needed to reach the poverty income threshold, with a little extra added for unforeseen circumstances.

The legal minimum wage for the UK is currently £6.31 per hour so the London Living wage can make a huge difference for lower paid Londoners. One Londoner who has benefitted from the Living Wage in the last 12 months is Lacey Green, a 21-year-old single mother from Merton who is employed by Living Wage employer Faucet Inn as a Bar Supervisor.

Lacey Green said: “Faucet Inn is the first pub chain to sign up to the Living Wage and it has made such a big difference to me and my son. I can send him to karate and football after school. We couldn’t afford to do that before. The Living Wage means we don’t have to rely on my Mum and Dad or the council anymore and that we can look to find our own home.”

In addition to paying the Living Wage, employers can also opt to become accredited by the Living Wage Foundation. Accreditation entitles an employer to use the Living Wage mark, a clear sign of their commitment to supporting and investing in their staff. There are now over 200 employers accredited, including both the Greater London Authority and Transport for London.

Rhys Moore, Director of the Living Wage Foundation said: “Employers who choose to pay the Living Wage are going that bit further and helping their workforce in challenging times. By looking out for the Living Wage badge you can now choose to support businesses and charities that are doing right thing. It works just like Fairtrade and will grow even faster with consumer support.”

The London Living Wage campaign was launched in 2001 by London Citizens.

 

Notes to editors

• Nearly 19,000 lower-paid Londoners are now benefitting from being paid a fairer salary as a result of the London Living Wage campaign

• For more information on the Living Wage Campaign please visit www.livingwage.org.uk • To read the report ‘A Fairer London: The 2013 Living Wage in London’, please visit www.london.gov.uk/a-fairer-london-the-2013-living-wage-in-london

• The London Living Wage rate is calculated by GLA Economics with cross-party support. It is updated on a yearly basis, calculating a ‘poverty threshold wage’ and adding a 15 per cent margin to ensure that the recipients have an adequate standard of living.

• The UK Living Wage rate (outside London) is calculated annually by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, with funding from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

• Accredited Living Wage employers – there are now over 200 accredited London Living Wage employers with around 90 in the process of accreditation.

• Living Wage Week will see events taking place across the UK.