Living Wage Week - Introduction(November 04, 2013)
As Labour lead the charge on the implementation of the living wage, Steve explains why he is such an advocate of the scheme.
"The number issue facing any government of any colour in this country in the years to come, is how do we combat the cost of living crisis. The national minimum wage is now worth, in real terms, just over £4 an hour which is it's 2004 levels. We cannot go on with a situation that sees the cost of living rising faster than wages. The people of Walton would see the quality of their day-to-day lives improve with the introduction of a Living Wage which is why I am supporting Ed Miliband and the Labour Party in trying to make this a reality..."
Comments from Labour MPs on the Living Wage...
“The cost of living crisis means life is getting tougher for working people. The Living Wage is way in which we can support workers, to help them pay the bills. The campaign is continuing to gather momentum, with Labour taking it from London to every corner of Britain. The work of Living Wage Labour councils is helping to ensure that, even in opposition at Westminster, we can begin building an economy that works for working people rather than just a few at the top. The next step is to find ways of taking the Living Wage into the private sector by working with businesses who understand by paying staff enough to live on and provide for their families makes them better and more productive employees. That is why I have asked Alan Buckle to review how government can encourage employers to adopt the living wage. This will form an important part of our preparations for government’’
- Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Laboour Party
“The lessons of the past few years are that what Ed Miliband has called a more ‘responsible capitalism’, with more high quality jobs that offer people dignity, opportunity, and a fair share of the prosperity they help to create, is essential for building a more stable economy and a more cohesive society. The Living Wage campaign is a powerful movement led by community organizations, trade unions and far-sighted employers that can change lives for those who work hard and want to get on in life. Labour will champion the living wage in government.’
Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Work & Pensions Secretary
“One of Labour’s greatest achievements in Government was the national minimum wage. It made a real difference to many workers. Now it is Labour in local government that is leading the way by supporting the Living Wage. Introducing it is not an easy decision to take, especially when budgets and services are under such pressure, but the fact that a growing number of councils have decided to pay the Living Wage shows what Labour values are all about. And with a cost of living crisis and many people on modest incomes who are struggling to make ends meet, it’s the kind of practical help that people need. What a contrast with the Coalition that thinks the top priority is to cut taxes for the very richest in society.”
Hilary Benn MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Local Government
WHAT IS THE LIVING WAGE?
The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK; hourly wage rate, set independently and updated annually. It describes the minimum hourly wage necessary for an individual to meet their own or their family’s basic day-to-day needs including housing, food and clothing.
Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis, but it’s enough to make sure their workers and their families can live free from poverty.
The Living Wage is more than just a number. It’s also about family life and the dignity of work. By paying workers the Living Wage, you’ll know that you’re rewarding them fairly for the hard work they do.
In London the current rate is £8.55. Outside of London the current rate is £7.45 per hour. New rates for 2013-14 will be announced as part of Living Wage week in November 2012. The formula is calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University and combines aspects of the Minimum Wage calculation with aspects of the London Living Wage calculation.
“Before, I had to work two jobs to put food on the table and pay the rent. I had no time for my family or my community. When the Living Wage was introduced I was able to prioritise the one job and that means I’ve been able to be there for my family and set up a youth group in my community. What I’ve been given, I’m now able to give back.”
Amin Hussein, Cleaner and Youth Worker
HISTORY OF THE LIVING WAGE CAMPAIGN
- Community organisations, unions and individuals have been campaigning on the living wage for over a decade. The campaign has become a powerful force for change in London and across the country. It is now recognised as a compelling cause which offers benefits to workers, employers and wider society.
- In 2005 Ken Livingstone’s London Mayoral Office set up the Living Wage Unit and since calculated the hourly rate every year. Between them, the employers in London who commit to paying a Living Wage have lifted more than 10,000 families out of working poverty.
- In 2011 Citizens UK launched the Living Wage Foundation which is the body that seeks to accredit organisations which pay the Living Wage as Living Wage employers.
- Up and down the country businesses, universities, charities and other organisations are signing up to join the campaign.
- In total, over 140 employers from every sector have adopted the Living Wage. There is now prominent support for the Living Wage from businesses including Lush, KPMG, Barclays and Linklaters.
“One of the things that I am most proud of from my mayoralty was the joint work that we did together (with London Citizens) to establish a Living Wage in London.’
Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, 2000 to 2008
LIVING WAGE WEEK
- Living Wage Week is the first ever UK-wide celebration of the Living Wage and Living Wage employers. It will take place from the 3rd-10th November 2013.
- Ed Miliband will be speaking at an event on Tuesday 5th November – officially launching Alan Buckle’s review into low pay and setting out the importance of the Living Wage Campaign for a One Nation Economy.
- Alan will be sending a call for evidence to businesses across the country, to find out ways in which government can help them pay their staff the living wage.
- Rachel Reeves is speaking at the Citizens UK’s Parliamentary reception for the Living Wage on Wednesday 6th November.
- The week will also publicise the UK and London Living Wage rates for 2013/14 and a new wave of accredited Living Wage Employers will be announced at a series of UK wide events.
- If you would like to get involved or find out what activities are taking place in your area please email Rhys.Moore@citizensuk.org
‘’The foundation of our economy in the future must be a Living Wage’’
Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party