Guest Blog: Helen Crowther, Cambridge City Council
Cambridge City Council – Championing the real Living Wage since 2014
Cambridge City Council became a Living Wage Employer in 2014. Since then we have been raising awareness of and supporting employers with Living Wage accreditation across the city as a key part of our Anti-poverty Strategy, in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation. There are now 56 Living Wage accredited employers in Cambridge, and the Council has directly supported around half of them with accreditation.
We were thrilled to be named as a Living Wage Champion for the East of England two years running, in 2015 and 2016. The accolades were handed to the Council in recognition of our continued commitment to the real Living Wage over the three years. The Living Wage Champion Awards are a great way to celebrate employers that have recognised the huge impact that the Living Wage can have on their employees and the major contribution paying the Living Wage makes to individuals, families and to the business community.
Poverty is not usually considered a problem in Cambridge but it is the most unequal city in the UK, according to Centre for Cities. In a city like Cambridge, where living costs are very high, it is especially important that people receive a wage that is independently calculated to reflect what people need to live off. This is an essential part of our vision to lead a united city, 'One Cambridge - Fair for All', in which economic dynamism and prosperity are combined with social justice and equality. This is why we have campaigned for the real Living Wage across Cambridge since we became accredited.
When we were recognised as a Living Wage Champion in 2016, we had undertaken a wide range of approaches to promote the Living Wage, and we continue to do so. The approaches included:
- Organising 7 events targeted at employers in different sectors, including the hi-tech sector, facilities managers and cleaning companies, and tourism and hospitality businesses.
- Directly approaching tenants of Council commercial properties, all grant-funded organisations, and all organisations with a connection to the Council
- Attending and speaking at local business networks, including the Institute of Directors and Business Networks International.
- Posting out a Living Wage flyer each year to over 4,000 businesses with business rates letters.
Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Cllr for Communities, said:
“Championing the real Living Wage continues to be incredibly important to us. Due to the success of the campaign we are now extending our engagement with employers to identify other ways they can use their skills and resources to help us tackle poverty through engaging in community initiatives. We continue to seek new networks of employers who share our passion for combatting poverty to encourage them to become Living Wage accredited. We look forward to continuing our work with the Living Wage Foundation to help ensure that a fair day’s work results in a fair day’s pay.”
Helen Crowther is Equality and Anti Poverty Officer for Cambridge City Council