New real Living Wage rates were announced yesterday (31 October, 2016) for London and the UK, which will now see full time workers on the real Living Wage earning £45 a week more than those on the government minimum wage, and £95 a week more in London.
In an announcement made by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, the new London Living Wage has increased from £9.40 to £9.75 per hour to reflect the higher cost of living facing families in the city – an increase of 3.7 per cent. Whilst the the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon and the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones announced an increase in the UK Living Wage rate from £8.25 to £8.45 per hour – an increase of 2.4 per cent, and 17 per cent higher than the government minimum for over 25s which is £7.20 per hour.
The announcements come after new research published by KPMG yesterday showed that one in five people are still paid less than the real Living Wage.
Since 2001, at least 120,000 workers have benefitted from the campaign for a real Living Wage which began in 2001. Almost 3,000 employers across the UK have now voluntarily committed to ensure their staff earn a wage they can really live on – including nearly 1,000 in London.
Marking this year’s Living Wage Week (30 October – 5 November), yesterday, also saw new household names are announcing their commitment to pay the real Living Wage: Everton Football Club, the British Library, RSA Insurance Group, Curzon Cinemas and law firm DLA Piper International. They join employers across the UK ranging from FTSE 100 companies to small independent businesses who are choosing to go further than the government minimum wage and ensure that all their staff and onsite contractors earn the real Living Wage which meets the cost of living.
Khan, announced the new rate for London at the British Library, he said:
“It’s great news that London is leading the way in paying the Living Wage and that over 1,000 businesses are now accredited and helping to make this a fairer and more equal city. I’m glad to say we’re well on track to see it rise to over £10 an hour during my mayoralty, but we need to go further and for many more businesses and organisations to sign up.
“Paying the London Living Wage is not just the right and moral thing to do, it makes good business sense too. As many employers already accredited know, the benefits are clear – including increased productivity and reduced staff turnover.”
Sturgeon announced the new UK rate in Airdrie at accredited Living Wage employer Bell Group, she said:
“The new Living Wage of £8.45 will be a welcome pay rise for thousands of Scottish workers and ensures people’s basic wage continues to meet the real costs of living.
“For business, paying the Living Wage makes sense – it’s an investment in people and all the evidence shows it leads to increased productivity and reduced staff absence and turnover, while sending a strong signal to customers about fairness.
“Yet we also know around 20 per cent of Scotland’s workforce earn less than the Living Wage. With low pay one of the main drivers of in-work poverty, it’s vital that employers who can pay the real Living Wage do so. We’ll continue to work with the Living Wage Foundation and the Poverty Alliance to encourage more businesses to recognise the benefits of paying the real Living Wage.”
Speaking to Wales, Jones announced the new UK rate from Cardiff Castle, he said:
“My vision for Wales is for a strong, fair economy delivering more and better jobs. I am proud that we have record levels of employment in Wales, while there has been great progress in the number of employers across the private and public sectors adopting the Living Wage.
“At its heart, the Living Wage is all about a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. The Living Wage allows people to improve their situation and enjoy their lives. But it also makes sound business sense – it boosts morale, improves productivity, innovation and, ultimately, staff retention.”
Katherine Chapman director of the Living Wage Foundation commented:
“Today’s new Living Wage rates bring a welcome pay rise to thousands of workers across the UK. One in five people earn less than the wage they need to get by. That’s why it’s more important than ever for leading employers to join the growing movement of businesses and organisations that are going further than the government minimum and making sure their employees earn enough to cover the cost of living. As we kick off Living Wage Week today we are celebrating nearly 3,000 employers across the UK who lead the way on tackling low pay by paying the real Living Wage. The sheer growth of our movement shows that the Living Wage is good for people and good for business.”