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Living Wage would lift millions out of poverty

living wage campaignThe Living Wage is a wage rate set to ensure a basic but acceptable standard of living. It is currently set at £8.80 in London and £7.65 across the rest of the UK. Employers can become accredited Living Wage employers via the Living Wage Foundation.

At present, five million people in Britain are paid less than the Living Wage, 3 million of them women. To plug the hole in so many pay cheques, Government spends approximately £4bn each year on in-work support for low earners.

The Living Wage is increasingly seen as an important measure in addressing the crisis of low pay. Previous research has suggested that it could save the public purse £2 billion a year and boost nationwide income by £6.5bn a year. To date, over 500 employers are accredited Living Wage employers and thousands of employees have had their wages boosted as a result of successful Living Wage campaigns.

Today the Living Wage Commission, (a 12 month independent inquiry into the opportunities and barriers to the Living Wage, chaired by Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu) has presented an outline of how millions of workers could be lifted out of low pay through the voluntary take up of the Living Wage. According to the Living Wage Foundation this is the most comprehensive analysis to date of low pay, conducted over 12 months by leading figures from business, trades unions, academia and civil society. You can read the full report here.

Rhys Moore, Director of the Living Wage Foundation said:

The Living Wage Commission highlights the injustice of in work poverty and we support their call to encourage those businesses that can, to pay more and become accredited Living Wage employers.

The economic recovery must extend to those who have been struggling to contend with low pay and rising living costs. We believe the target of lifting 1 million people out of low pay over the next six years is achievable. Employers such as Nationwide, SSE and Aviva have been leading the way, demonstrating how the Living Wage makes good business, as well as moral, sense.

What’s most exciting is when organisations in sectors where traditionally the Living Wage has been deemed unaffordable come forward to be accredited employers. The leadership of Abbeyfield, a national elderly-care provider, in delivering the Living Wage in the social care sector is a triumph that we hope will demonstrate to others that whilst challenging, it is not impossible.

The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now. The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.”

This article first appeared at  Socialist Unity

3 Comments

  1. Robert says:

    Ok I notice the idea is that you give a little extra about £1.30 an hour, then you would stop all in work benefits like rent and council tax and credits, which would mean that these people gain nothing while governments do.

    The living wage which is about £1.30 an hour more is simply not a living wage £7.40 is well below what is needed to day for a living wage and now look at Wales in which councils are talking of going over to a whole work force being paid zero hours contracts where the lowest paid carers and social workers are already being told accept zero hour contracts or be laid off.

    Everyone wants a decent living wage but we are now in 2014 with an election coming up fast with a labour party which may be doing well in the polls but could be doing far better talking about ending in work benefits which would leave people no better off. A living wage a wage in which the working poor would be better off to a degree that life would be better, would be about £23,000 a year not £15,000 so by removing the in work benefits all you doing is paying people the min wage again because you force then to pay rent you end credits.

    real politics for you

    That no help is it.

  2. David Ellis says:

    There is no point talking about a Living Wage unless the demand for a regime of full-employment is simultaneously raised otherwise paying a Living Wage will become an excuse for getting rid of people. The productive work must be shared with each school and college leaver and unemployed worker bought into the local workforce and paid the minimum of a trade union living wage. No expensive and bogus job creation schemes, no general policy but an actual regime that imposes full-employment on capital and terminates its ability to create a reserve army of unemployed.

    1. Robert says:

      Sadly parties talk about full employment but of course it would not work for them you have to have a supply of extra staff just waiting for the surge.

      But sadly these days employment is all about demand and if the demand is poor then unemployment is high and vice versa.

      In the end of course all this is hype to attack the people who are unemployed because of a banking crises which not a single bloody politician in the world could see but every person at home watching the news asked how are banks paying for these buy outs where do they get the money. How are we allowing a housing bubble and you get moron politicians telling you they will find their own level .

      Little wonder our young are turning away from politics wish I had done it when I was young.

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