Labour-led Lambeth Council is celebrating being declared the national Living Wage Public Sector Champions of 2021.
The independent Living Wage Foundation chose Lambeth Council in a strong competition to identify the public sector organisation that had done the most to promote paying workers a decent wage – currently set at £10.85 an hour in London.
Lambeth Council were recognised for not only being Living Wage accredited itself since 2012, with 99% of contractors paying at least the rate, but also for supporting other employers to end poverty wages.
Last February two of the borough’s largest employers, Guy’s and St Thomas’s and South London and the Maudsley NHS Trust, both became Living Wage accredited having attended a workshop organised by Lambeth Council who worked with them to make the move. It means hundreds of NHS cleaners, caterers and other key workers gained major pay rises whilst dealing with the pandemic.
Lambeth Council also created the UK’s first Living Wage accredited building in a former council office block, International House, in Brixton which is full of small and medium sized enterprises paying at least the London Living Wage.
The council also offered business rate discounts to companies who got accredited and successfully campaigned, with Southwark and Lewisham councils, for the Co-op Food Group in London to pay London Living Wage rates.
In the Annual Surveys of Hours and Earnings run by the Official for National Statistics it showed that in 2019 there was 29,000 jobs in Lambeth that were below the London Living Wage and in 2020 that had dropped to 23,000. Lambeth Labour is determined to drive that rate further down so that no Lambeth resident works for less than the London Living Wage.
Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Cllr Ed Davie said:
“No worker in Lambeth should be paid less than what it costs for their family to have a decent life. Paying the Living Wage is an important, tangible means of making that happen and so we are very happy to have increased the number of jobs in Lambeth paying at least this rate and to be recognised with this award for doing so. This has truly been a team effort with our Living Wage Policy Lead Cllr Jon Davies and Cllrs Jacqui Dyer, Andy Wilson and Matthew Bennett playing important roles.
“To further support Lambeth families facing poverty we will be consulting on extending our Council Tax Support scheme so that a further 7,000 Lambeth families living in poverty don’t have to pay any council tax. We will also be developing a new Child Poverty Strategy which will include further extending the Living Wage, supporting more of our residents into decent jobs and ensuring people get the right advice, support and training to lift themselves out of poverty.”