Politicians and employers back Living Wage campaign

 

The campaign for a Living Wage higher than the statutory minimum rate stepped up a gear today when leading politicians and employers backed the drive for better pay.

London mayor Boris Johnson announced that the Living Wage rate in the capital is to increase by 25p an hour to £8.55, worth £4.5 million a year for lower-paid workers.

The rate outside London will also rise by 25p to £7.45, benefiting thousands of workers, and compares with the national minimum wage of £6.19 for adults.

Mr Johnson called for the rate to be paid by all local authorities in London, as well as across Whitehall, saying: "By building motivated, dedicated workforces, the Living Wage helps businesses to boost the bottom line and ensures that hard-working people who contribute to London's success can enjoy a decent standard of living."

A number of Labour-controlled local authorities now pay the Living Wage, but Mr Johnson conceded that no Conservative-run council in London was accredited.

The GMB union said the Tory flagship Wandsworth Council in London had decided not to introduce the Living Wage to its 105 directly-employed staff who are paid less than this.

Labour leader Ed Miliband vowed to address Britain's "living standards crisis" as he met the leaders of Labour local authorities across the UK who are already implementing the pay structure and promised to find ways to help other businesses become living-wage employers.

He said: "There are almost five million people in Britain who aren't earning the living wage: people who got up early this morning, spent hours getting to work - who are putting in all the effort they can - but who often don't get paid enough to look after their families, to heat their homes, feed their kids, care for elderly relatives and plan for the future.

"Too many people in Britain are doing the right thing and doing their bit, helping to build the prosperity on which our country depends, but aren't sharing fairly in the rewards."

Mr Johnson announced that InterContinental had become the first hotel chain to sign up to the Living Wage, adding: "Despite very challenging economic times, it's clear that more employers are waking up to the huge benefits that paying the Living Wage delivers.

"We have a great range of household names on board and I want to see more coming forward."

Since the Living Wage was introduced in 2005, an estimated 11,500 workers have benefited.

A newly-designed trademark that recognises and accredits employers that pay the Living Wage was published today.

The Living Wage Foundation said it hoped the mark would become as recognisable as the Fair Trade logo.

A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said that making the Living Wage a requirement for companies bidding for Government contracts might be illegal under EU procurement rules.

He added: "It is not clear that that would be legal. There are EU procurement laws, and forcing companies to pay a particular wage wouldn't necessarily be consistent with those procurement laws.

"Forcing companies to pay the living wage as a gateway to get a Government contract, we think, could be illegal."

Archbishop of York John Sentamu said it was an "absolute scandal" that one in five people working in the UK are not paid the Living Wage.

Speaking at a launch event for the new rate in York, Dr Sentamu said: "You would think, listening to the rhetoric of some of our elected political representatives, that the problems of poverty in this country are caused by people choosing to be unemployed, choosing to be on benefits and deciding not to contribute to making society stronger.

"Actually, when you look at the figures, you can see that six out of 10 families in the UK living in poverty have at least one adult in paid work."

John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "Small firms want to pay their employees more, and recognise the benefits of doing so. However, they are struggling to manage cash flow in the midst of weak economic demand and increasing energy and fuel costs."

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: "The new rates will help families to make ends meet at a time when the cost of basics such as food and fuel have been rising.

"The challenge now is to close the gap between the national minimum wage and the Living Wage."

Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said the movement was growing as more employers realised the benefits of paying the rate.

"Like Fair Trade, it represents a new standard for responsible business. We hope to see the Living Wage mark and symbol spreading further and further across organisations in the UK."

PA

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Sport
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Sport
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities