New Steering Group launched to focus on Making London a Living Wage City

The ‘Making London a Living Wage City’ project Steering Group today meets for the first time. The group is a made up of a coalition of civil society, business and public organisations, including the Mayor and Bishop of London.

London Living Wage Steering Group

A coalition of civil society, business and public organisations has announced the ‘Making London a Living Wage City’ project Steering Group, with co-chairs including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, Bishop of London, and Anna Purchas, London Office Senior Partner at KPMG.

The London Living Wage Project, led by Citizens UK and the Living Wage Foundation, through £4.8m of Trust for London funding, aims to put £635m of wages into the pockets of Londoners and lift tens of thousands of workers out of in-work poverty by boosting the number of accredited Living Wage and Living Hours employers across the capital. It has already seen 450 newly accredited employers headquartered in London.

At its heart, the real Living Wage campaign is rooted in communities taking action to ensure the cost of living is met by employers. To date, the campaign has secured up to £1.8bn of increased wages, around 45% of which has been in London.

Despite the growth of the movement, low pay remains a big issue, with 17.2% of jobs in London paying less than the real Living Wage - 700,000 jobs in total.

The call for a real Living Wage has become even more pressing in recent months, with many workers and families being pushed into poverty due to the rising cost of living. The rate of inflation hit 7% in April ­– the highest level seen in thirty years, and those living in London are amongst those hit the hardest. Polling by YouGov on behalf of the Greater London Authority shows 79% of Londoners reported an increase in their cost of living over the last six months. [1]

As well as focusing on the issues around low pay, the project will also tackle precarious work through Living Hours – a standard to help workers get the hours they need to make ends meet and protect them from job insecurity. [2]

The steering group will guide the work of the overall project in the coming months, using their extensive experience in individual areas to make the project a success.

They will be led by research derived from a listening campaign which heard around 4000 people speak about the issues of low pay in sectors such as health and social care, hospitality, the night-time economy and the gig economy.

I’m proud that since becoming Mayor, the number of employers committed to paying the London Living Wage has quadrupled – with hundreds more signing up just in the last eight months. But with Londoners facing the cost of living crisis, I’m determined to do more to support lower paid workers. That’s why I will ask the steering committee to adopt ambitious new Spring 2024 targets for the Making London a Living Wage City programme. This includes accrediting a further 1,000 new Living Wage Employers, which will ensure 50,000 more Londoners are uplifted to the London Living Wage each year. "Boosting the incomes of low paid workers makes sense – it’s what’s best for employees as well as the productivity of businesses and organisations as a whole. As Mayor, I’ll continue to do all I can to support lower paid Londoners as we seek to build a better, fairer London for everyone.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.
Civil society institutions such as churches, mosques, synagogues and community groups hear the stories on the ground about how workers and their families are struggling to get by on low pay. We see first-hand how it affects those in our communities and the impact it has on their lives, which is why we must be part of the solution. Everyone deserves a wage they can use to live off – not just survive. As well as the real Living Wage being good for society, it’s good for business – and I look forward to more employers in London seeing the benefits and becoming accredited.
Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, Bishop of London
The campaign for a real Living Wage is close to my heart – I came to the UK from Colombia 13 years ago and worked as a cleaner for several years whilst studying. During this time, I lived the realities of low pay and precarious working conditions, which impacted all aspects of my life. This project will allow us to ensure more workers can live with dignity and the wages they deserve.
Gina Rodriguez, Worker Leader on the Steering Group

Citizens UK and the Living Wage Foundation

Citizens UK is a people power alliance of diverse local communities working together for the common good. Its mission is to use Community Organising to develop leaders, strengthen civic organisations and make change. There are 17 chapters across the UK made up of diverse local institutions, including schools, universities, churches, mosques, synagogues, parent groups, health trusts, charities, and unions. Each member is deeply rooted in their communities and has an everyday connection to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

One of the biggest CUK campaigns to date is the campaign for a real Living Wage (funded by Trust for London), which calls for all workers to be paid enough to live off and has put £1.8 billion back into the pockets of workers. Now operating through The Living Wage Foundation, employers can accredit to pay their workers a real Living Wage that is independently calculated each year based on the true cost of living.

Contact

For more information, please contact the press office at press@citizensuk.org

References:

[1] GLA (2022) The rising cost of living and its effects on Londoners. London Datastore.

[2] Living Hours, The Living Wage Foundation https://www.livingwage.org.uk/living-hours

16 May 2022

__

Take a look at the latest low pay indicators on London's Poverty Profile:

London Living Wage

Learn more about our work on the London Living Wage

Find out more