Rolling out Living Wage Buildings to create well-paid job opportunities for all

Cllr Andy Wilson, Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Finance, blogs about Lambeth Council's involvement in creating well-paid opportunities for all by setting up the UK's first Living Wage Building - International House.

Lambeth Council is proud to be an accredited Living Wage employer and the London Living Wage plays a central role in our ambition to tackle the persistent inequality that exists in the borough.

Ensuring people receive decent pay, the London Living Wage or higher, tackle inequality head-on by lifting people out of in-work poverty and helps ensure they are able to meet the needs of their families.

As a council we are focussed on developing new employment opportunities in emerging sectors, which typically have better pay rates, to support young people and encourage entrepreneurship and business skills.

To support that aim Lambeth Council is rolling out new co-working buildings across the borough, all of which specify that tenants pay the London Living Wage to employees.

Lambeth now has six affordable workspaces in the borough, with more in the pipeline, supporting over 300 business and creating more than 200 new jobs to date.

The biggest single project is International House in Brixton and it's fantastic to see this being recognised as the UK's first Living Wage Building. All tenants based within the co-working building are obliged to pay at least the London Living Wage to their employees and contractors.

The 11-storey block is owned by Lambeth Council and run by 3Space. The former council office re-opened in late 2018 as one of London's biggest affordable co-working building for new and growing businesses, social enterprises and charities, with a focus on design, creativity and innovation.

A fantastic enterprise community is being built at International House - from high growth creative tech companies Gravity Sketch, Resi, and KYND, to local cultural charities including Photofusion, and Business Launchpad, a not for profit supporting young entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds. Once fully occupied, the building has the potential to support 850 jobs.

Work is changing. More people are working for themselves and within small businesses, with often precarious working conditions and low pay. The creative industry is one sector with the potential for growth in our borough, but it needs support if those seeking work in the sector are to thrive.

The draft new London plan sets out the need for affordable workspace at rents below the market rate to help stimulate social, charitable and artistic ventures and start-ups, and support increasing numbers of self-employed. In Lambeth we are going one step further - rolling out workspaces that are not only affordable to rent but which guarantee all employees based within them are paid at least the London Living Wage.