Cllr Jon Davies, Living Wage Policy Lead for Lambeth council blogs for Living Wage Week on Lambeth’s proud record of paying the London Living Wage.
Lambeth is proud to be a Living Wage Borough and today the Living Wage Foundation has announced, using independent economists, the Living Wage rates for next year. It sets it at £10.55 in London, £2.72 per hour above the government’s Trotter Brothers knock-off alternative, and a real boost to people’s incomes!
In Lambeth, we’re proud to be leading the way on the Living Wage.
Since 2012 the employment rate in Lambeth has risen to over 83%,the highest in our history, while unemployment has fallen from 9% to just 5%. Despite this huge improvement, too many residents are in low paid jobs and struggle to make ends meet. Lambeth led the way in London by becoming a Living Wage Employer in 2012, ensuring that all Lambeth Council employees are paid the London Living Wage as are employees in 99% of council contracts.
Last year the London Living Wage was extended to the men and women who sweep our streets and empty our bins.
And this year we have worked with businesses to open new business space in Lambeth Town Hall and International House, all with guarantees of paying the Living Wage. This has produced a massive increase in affordable workspace, with jobs paying the London Living Wage and all as a result of the council’s plan to reduce the number of council buildings and save £4.5 million a year as part of the Your New Town Hall project.
This week, we’re celebrating our achievements on the Living Wage and encouraging all Lambeth businesses to pay it. We’re partnering with our local Business Improvement Districts to promote Living Wage Zones, supporting local businesses to become Living Wage Employers and we are encouraging businesses to adopt the Mayor’s new ‘Good Work Standard’ which includes paying the Living Wage.
It struck me last week how relevant all of this is, not just to the people who benefit but to others as well. I was teaching a class about film appreciation at Morley College and one of the students said he’d see the film we were discussing at a cinema in Hackney. He then apologised and said, ‘I wasn’t happy about that because they don’t pay their staff the living wage’. The rest of the class weighed in: ‘Yes I don’t go to the Ritzy because of that.’ I keep my professional and political lives as separate as possible so didn’t comment but it made me aware that the message is getting out there. And here is my special Living Wage Week offer: Picturehouse, would you like to have a chat about how we can find common ground on this? I’d be happy to cycle over and talk to you.
It’s the right thing to do, for the people who work there and deserve a living wage. Oh and I’d like to be able to go to the Ritzy again!