London Living Wage should be the norm

05 November 2014

The London Assembly has called on Mayor Boris Johnson to increase the take up of the London Living Wage amongst employers and if this doesn’t improve the numbers the Mayor should make the case to Government for making the London Living Wage a statutory requirement. A motion agreed today [1] concludes that while the Mayor has set a laudable target to make the London Living Wage the norm in London by 2020, he must make the London Living Wage a bigger priority. Fiona Twycross AM, who proposed the motion, said: "The London Assembly welcomes Living Wage Week. Pay and poverty is an increasingly critical issue in London, as average pay rates continue to fall in the capital. “Average pay is declining in the capital, with the average Londoner £87 a week worse off today than they were in 2009, while the latest data shows that more people are now paid less than the London Living Wage than they were in 2007. The fundamental problem is that, from food to housing, the cost of living in London is increasing faster than wages. “The Mayor has outlined a laudable target that the London Living Wage should be the norm in this city by 2020 and believes this can be achieved by convincing businesses to voluntarily pay the wage. However, the data shows we are moving further away from achieving this target. By persuasion or compulsion, this target must be met. The Mayor needs to demonstrate that the voluntary approach he is pursuing can work and, if progress is too slow because he is failing to deliver, he should make the case to government for raising the minimum wage to a living wage.” The full text of the motion is: “The London Assembly welcomes Living Wage Week. Pay and poverty is an increasingly critical issue in London, as average pay rates continue to fall in the capital. Office for National Statistics data shows that in 2013, average weekly pay was £613 compared to £700 in real-terms (adjusted for RPI) in 2009. This fall in wages has fed the dramatic rise in poverty in this city. The most recent London Poverty Profile found that in-work poverty has increased in London over recent years while the number of jobs paying less than the London Living Wage has also increased sharply since 2007 in both total numbers (from 420,000 to 600,000) and as a proportion of all jobs in this city (from 13% to 17%). The Mayor has set a laudable target to make the London Living Wage the norm in London by 2020. However, the data shows that we are moving further away from realising this ambition. This Assembly believes the Mayor must make the London Living Wage a much bigger priority for this ambition to be achieved. Firstly, the Mayor should place more resources into his business engagement team to ensure that the benefits of paying the London Living Wage are communicated more effectively to firms operating in London. Should these improved efforts fail to deliver a rapid movement towards a situation where the London Living Wage is genuinely the norm in London, this Assembly believes the Mayor should make the case to the Government for introducing the London Living Wage in the capital on a statutory basis, with a higher minimum wage for London being introduced as an intermediary step.” Notes to editors:

The motion was agreed by 16 votes for to 8 against at a meeting of the full Assembly today. Watch the webcast.

Fiona Twycross AM who proposed the motion is available for interviews. Please see contact details below.

As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For more details, please contact Lisa Lam in the Assembly Media Office on 020 7983 4067. For out-of-hours media enquiries please call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit, Greater London Authority, on 020 7983 4100.