News: Living Wage Foundation Launches Local Authority Toolkit
Today, the Living Wage Foundation has launched a ‘Local Authority Toolkit’ to encourage and support councils to accredit as Living Wage Employers.
The toolkit explains how local authorities can become accredited Living Wage Employers, outlining the key challenges for local authorities looking to tackle low pay and providing practical guidance in terms of how to overcome them. There are currently over 60 accredited Living Wage councils across the UK, including over 40 in England, 17 in Scotland and 1 in Wales.
Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “Together, leading local authorities across the country have already lifted over 50,000 people out of in-work poverty and ensured over £300 million extra has gone back into workers’ pockets and local communities. As major employers, we know the significant impact local authorities have on their areas when they commit to paying a Living Wage, with other local employers often following suit. That’s why we’re launching this toolkit, to encourage and support more local authorities to accredit as Living Wage Employers.”
Cllr Andy Hull, a councillor on Islington Council and Author of the toolkit, said: “Councils across the country can use this toolkit to address working poverty in their area. With over six million UK workers still paid less than they need to keep their heads above water, and with nearly three quarters of all children living in poverty growing up in working households, we need more local government leaders to champion the real Living Wage. Whilst Westminster appears paralysed by Brexit, town halls up and down the land can lead by example when it comes to tackling poverty pay. This new toolkit shows how.”
Abilio Mesquita, a Catering Assistant at Cardiff Council, said: “The Living Wage changed my life in many ways. I used to work long hours for a set wage; my wife didn’t work at all; she couldn’t because she was looking after the kids. Now, with the Living Wage in place, we can both work and divide the responsibilities. I can spend time with my family and kids and our family life is much happier. I feel much more appreciated in the workplace, all thanks to the Living Wage. It absolutely made an amazing difference to our lives.”
By becoming accredited Living Wage Employers, local authorities ensure that all their directly employed and third-party contracted staff earn a wage that meets the cost of living.
Paying the Living Wage isn’t just good for those workers and families directly benefitting; it also provides a boost for the local economy too. Research conducted by the Smith Institute found that if just a quarter of those on low incomes saw their pay rise to the real Living Wage in ten of the UK’s major city regions, a subsequent increase in wages, productivity and spending could deliver a £1.1 billion economic boost concentrated in those areas.
In addition, paying the Living Wage has distinct benefits for local authorities as employers. Cardiff Business School asked local authorities across the UK how they benefited from committing to paying staff enough to live on. Of those surveyed:
- 86% said it had enhanced the organisation’s corporate reputation
- 84% said it had enhanced the organisation’s reputation as an employer
- 77% said it had improved relations with public bodies or politicians
- 74% said it had increased the motivation of employees
The real Living Wage is voluntarily paid by almost 6,000 UK organisations who go beyond the government minimum to make sure all their employees earn a wage that covers the cost of living.
Read the local authority toolkit below.