This week is Living Wage UK Week, and yesterday it was announced that the Living Wage has increased to £8.75 for workers outside London. This will see over 150,000 workers receive a pay rise, which is needed even more in theses times of high inflation and wage stagnation.
Unlike the Government’s “National Living Wage” - a shameful attempt to hijack one of the most successful campaigns of recent years - the Living Wage is independently calculated, and done so according to the cost of living. Yesterday's rise represents a 3.6% increase in pay for workers outside of London, compared to the shameful 1% pay cap in place for our public sector workers.
The Living Wage is paid by employers such as IKEA and Nationwide Building Society, as well as a third of FTSE 100 companies. Stroud Brewery, Visit Cornwall, Bristol Credit Union and LUSH UK are just a few examples of Living Wage employers across the South West. Over 90% of employers who pay the Living Wage say they get real benefits from the scheme, including improved retention, reputation, recruitment and staff motivation.
There is, however, much more to do. Not only do we need to see Government increase its National Minimum and Living Wage levels as well as lifting the public sector pay cap, we need many more employers to start paying the real Living Wage. Over 5 million people in the UK today are paid less than the Living Wage. In the South West, it's 21% of workers who are earning less than the Living Wage.
If we were able to reduce that number, we would see huge benefits for workers and employers. It’s the right thing to do both economically and morally, and I hope that by next year’s Living Wage Week we will have seen many more workers getting a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.