The London Living Wage (LLW) has gone up from £8.30 to £8.55 an hour, a 25p rise that reflects the increased costs of living. The concept of a living wage – as opposed to a minimum wage which often bears no resemblance to how much it costs to live where you work – was taken up around a decade ago and has been championed by City Hall since 2005.
Ironically, the Greater London Authority isn’t yet an accredited LLW employer (there’s an issue with various contracts that need to be renegotiated as they come up), and Assembly Member Len Duvall has highlighted Transport for London cleaners and police security staff who are still on minimum wage. However, they are on the ‘trying to get it sorted’ list. Organisations that currently pay the LLW include the boroughs of Camden, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth and Lewisham (Ealing, Enfield, Haringey, Southwark and Tower Hamlets are on the way), the Joiner’s Arms in Shoreditch, Lush, Linklaters, Amnesty and Queen Mary University. (You can read the full list from page 33 of the GLA report.)
Why bother with a living wage? We can hand over to the Mayor himself:
Paying the London Living Wage is the right thing to do – it can make all the difference for low income families. But it also makes sound business sense. There is increasing evidence that organisations that pay the Living Wage experience lower staff turnover and higher staff morale, health and productivity as well as being seen as good places to work and acquiring reputational benefits.
Yet the number of jobs in London paying less than the LLW is rising. Recently, charity Trust for London worked out that £1bn could be saved in increased tax take and lower benefit bills if companies paid their employees the LLW.