London Living Wage

MQT on 2018-11-22
Session date: 
November 22, 2018
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


What action are you taking to encourage London's businesses to pay the new London Living Wage rate, particularly during these uncertain economic times due to Brexit?


London Living Wage

London Living Wage

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The Living Wage is a win-win for employers and employees.  It can help employers with recruitment, retention and productivity.  In short, it makes good commercial sense.


I was proud to announce during Living Wage Week in 2018 that the London Stadium is now an accredited Living Wage employer.  We are still working to get the pay rise to everyone.  This will happen before the end of the year [2018] and will be backdated to August 2018.


I have always believed that it is important to lead by example and that is why one of my first tasks was to ensure that all GLA staff were being paid the London Living Wage.  I continue to support the Living Wage campaign and have committed to once again providing the campaign with free advertising space on the TfL network throughout this month to coincide with Living Wage Week.


I will continue to urge employers to become Living Wage accredited through a variety of channels and especially institutions such as big businesses, sports clubs, and venues, museums and so on, which Londoners identify with and which can play such an influential role.


I was delighted recently when, following a letter I had sent, Fulham Football Club announced it would be seeking accreditation.  I have also written again to London’s other Premier League clubs and will continue to write to other key employers urging them to do the same.


I am deeply concerned about the challenges faced by the large number of businesses in the capital that trade with and recruit from the EU.  It is my responsibility to stand up for these businesses and I am dismayed that the UK Government has failed to help those businesses to prepare.


Over 80% of Living Wage accredited employers nationally are small and medium-sized enterprises and, although small businesses are facing many pressures, I have confidence that they will be able to apply the new rates within the next six months.


Andrew Dismore AM:  Thank you for that.  Can I go back to the report of Professor Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur [Statement on Visit to the UK ], which you mentioned earlier?


Do you agree with his conclusion about the impact of in-work poverty?  For example, families with two parents working full-time at the National Minimum Wage - deceptively rebranded by the Conservative Party as a ‘National Living Wage’, when it is not - is 11% short of what is needed to raise a child.  This shows the necessity of the London Living Wage, but the proportion of jobs in London that pay below the London Living Wage - now £10.55 per hour - has gone up so that one in five jobs - 820,000 - still pay less than that.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I agree with everything you have said.  The idea that you can increase people’s remuneration by simply rebranding the National Minimum Wage as the ‘National Living Wage’ and expecting things to improve is ridiculous.  That is why I encourage all employers to look at the benefits that businesses which pay the London Living Wage have seen in relation to morale, reduced sick leave, easier recruitment, better retention, and progression.  Paying the London Living Wage really is a win-win.


Andrew Dismore AM:  Would you also agree with the conclusion of the UN Rapporteur that poverty in the UK since 2010 has been a political choice and that “austerity could easily have spared the poor if the political will had existed to do so”, and that given the failure of the Conservative Government to address growing rates of poverty, the London Living Wage is vital to the wellbeing of less well-off families in London in overcoming the current shortcomings of the social security system, especially when you look at the rollout of Universal Credit across the capital?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Absolutely.  There is a cause and effect in relation to Government announcing policies and the impact that has on the people of our city and our country.  A direct consequence of the Budget in 2010 and subsequent Budgets from this Government has been more people going into poverty than otherwise would have been the case.


What should also worry us is: that going forward the evidence is that the continuation of these policies will mean more people going into poverty than would otherwise be the case.


Welfare benefits reform is a sensible thing when it is done correctly and in a sensible way.  We now know from the pilot that Universal Credit leads to there being more foodbanks, more rent arrears, more families having problems.  Knowing this, rather than looking at the evidence and pausing the rollout, the Government is rolling Universal Credit across the country.  That is why it is important for the new Secretary of State [for Work and Pensions, the Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP] to look at the evidence and to do a U-turn on her Government’s policies in relation to Universal Credit.