BRITAIN’S voluntary living wage has been increased to £8.45 an hour across the country and £9.75 in London — but more than five million people are still being paid below this sum according to a report published on Sunday.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who announced the 2.4 per cent increase for workers in the capital at the British Library yesterday, said it was a “badge of pride” for employers that have committed to paying the voluntary living wage.
The mayor said that things were “on track” to meet the £10 an hour he has committed to reaching during his time in office.
Living Wage Foundation director Katherine Chapman said that the “growth of our movement shows that the living wage is good for people and good for business” and that Britain was leading the way in tackling low pay.
However the announcement of the rise came one day after the Living Wage Foundation’s partner KPGM revealed that one in five working people — more than five million — are still earning less than the living wage.
Labour’s London Assembly economy spokesperson Fiona Twycross AM stressed that more low-paid workers should have their wages linked to the London Living Wage.
To mark Living Wage Week ,which began yesterday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn met young workers at SoS Cleaning Services.
Confirming the new British rate at a painting and decorating firm in Airdriestruck, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon echoed calls for more employers to sign up to the scheme.She said: “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.”
While welcoming the rise as a “step in the right direction,” Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said that “the government should put their money where their mouth is and ensure everyone is paid the real living wage, so we can end poverty pay in this country for good.”
He added: “It’s more important than ever to make a noise about low pay, and ensure people earn a wage they can really live on.”