TORY London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith was accused of “gross hypocrisy” last night after one of his companies was found to be advertising jobs paying below the living wage.
Mr Goldsmith’s spokesman last week described his boss as a “firm believer in the London living wage,” describing the independently set marker — currently £9.40 an hour — as “a way to secure and widen London’s prosperity so that it benefits all Londoners.”
The Tory campaign even claimed that electing Labour candidate Sadiq Khan would jeopardise the living wage’s roll-out, saying he had been “nominated by the most anti-business Labour Party” ever.
But a bowling alley company partially owned by Mr Goldsmith and his family is currently advertising for jobs paid just £8 an hour.
All Star Leisure, which has sites in Holborn, Bayswater, Stratford and Brick Lane, has also donated money to the Conservative Party and Mr Goldsmith’s mayoral campaign from company cash.
Mr Goldsmith was condemned for his hypocrisy by trade unionists campaigning to eliminate poverty pay.
“Everyone recognises that in London you need a £10 an hour living wage,” said GMB London political officer Gary Doolan.
“This shows that Zac Goldsmith is out of touch with real people.
“Even if you’re getting £8 an hour you’re still going to be relying on getting working tax credits. Advertising a job at £8 an hour is a bloody insult.”
Labour said that Mr Goldsmith had shown scant regard for low pay before he sought selection as Tory mayoral candidate, first mentioning the issue in the Commons only last autumn.
“Just 10 days ago Zac Goldsmith’s campaign claimed he was a supporter of the London living wage — despite his five year silence on the issue,” pointed out Labour Treasury spokeswoman Seema Malhotra.
“Now we find it’s all talk. A business in which he is an influential figure doesn’t pay the living wage. He is guilty of gross hypocrisy.
“If he won’t do anything in a firm where his family and friends are such big shareholders it raises serious questions about his ability or intention to persuade other employers in the capital to get on board.”