Islington Council is to become the first local authority in the United Kingdom to require businesses that begin renting its commercial properties to pay employees at London Living Wage rates.
New leases entered into with the Labour-run North London council, which owns roughly 60 commercial properties in the borough, will contain an agreement to pay at least the LLW to all staff working on the council-owned premises. Failure to do so will result in the lease not being renewed, the council says. It expects the average length of new leases to be seven years.
The London Living Wage, a voluntary rate set by the Living Wage Foundation to reflect the capital’s high living costs, has today been raised to £10.20 per hour.
In 2012, Islington became the first UK local authority to pay all its employees the LLW and has reached a point where 98% of its private contractors pay their workers at of above that level.
Councillor Andy Hull, Islington’s executive member for finance, performance and community safety, described the move as “part of our ongoing work to tackle the scourge of working poverty”.
Islington is among 13 of London’s 32 boroughs, all Labour-run, to pay its staff the LLW. The others are: Brent, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hounslow, Lambeth, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. A 14th local authority, the City of London Corporation, also pays all its staff the LLW.
The Living Wage Foundation has now accredited 1,503 London employers, an increase from 1,033 this time last year. They include Bow Arts, Lush Cosmetics, the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, Sotheby’s, Greg and Co Building Services, Grant Thornton UK and The Crown Estate (full list available here).
However, figures assembled by Trust for London before today’s increase found that 21% of employees in the capital were paid below the LLW rate despite wage growth at the very bottom of the pay scale, due partly to an increase in the statutory National Living Wage.