About half of all London local authorities are accredited Living Wage employers and, according to our analysis, significantly more local employers pay the London Living Wage where this is the case. Their leadership may have a ‘ripple effect’ in encouraging other organisations to become Living Wage employers. For example, among the 10 London local authorities with the highest number of local Living Wage employers, only one local authority (Westminster) is not accredited. Meanwhile, among accredited local authorities, Islington, Camden, Southwark, Greenwich and the City of London have the highest number of Living Wage employers.
That’s why CPAG and the Living Wage Foundation have been working together to produce a new guide, Moving to The London Living Wage: A Guide for Local Authorities in London, which explains why moving to the Living Wage can help local authorities tackle low pay and child poverty in the community, how the accreditation process works, what the benefits of accreditation are and how local authorities can champion the Living Wage locally.
When local authorities become accredited Living Wage employers, they sign a licence agreement with the Living Wage Foundation to confirm they pay the Living Wage rate to all directly employed staff and, over time, regular on-site third-party contractors. This is important, as it’s not only directly-employed staff who benefit from the Living Wage, but employees in the supply chain too – such as those working in cleaning, care, security and food and beverage services – who are more often than not low paid.
London has seen a significant growth in jobs over the last decade and is enjoying record high employment. However, low pay and in-work poverty continue to be huge problems, with almost one in five jobs paid below the London Living Wage in 2016 and two-thirds of children living in poverty in working households.
With inflation rising, a freeze on most working-age benefits from 2016–2020, and real wages remaining below their 2008 level up to 2021, those on the Government's 'National Living Wage' or National Minimum Wage will feel the squeeze acutely. In this context, the Living Wage becomes even more important as a tool for tackling in-work poverty.
Of course, the Living Wage is not the only solution to child poverty. The causes of poverty are complex and in order to improve lives, there should be a package of solutions across policy areas, including help with the cost of children through children’s benefits such as child benefit. The Living Wage is, however, an important part of that package.
Currently 16 out of 33 local authorities in London are accredited Living Wage employers, but we want all of them to be. Download the guide to find out if your local authority is accredited, or if you work for a local authority, use the guide to help your local authority move to the London Living Wage.