The hourly rate for the London Living Wage, a pay level based on the income people need to get by in the capital, has been increased by ten pence to £10.85.
The London Living Wage, in contrast to the lower minimum wage rates set by the government, is not backed by law but can be paid voluntarily by London employers who sign up for the campaign for a “real living wage” and become accredited by the Living Wage Foundation, which sets the rate.
Also in contrast the government-set rates, the London Living Wage applies to all over-18s and includes a London weighting to reflect the higher cost of living in the capital compared with the rest of the UK, which has its own, slightly lower, Living Wage Foundation rate, which has today risen to £9.50 an hour.
The government’s minimum wage rates, which apply to the whole of the UK are called:
- The National Minimum Wage became law in 1999 and now applies at different levels to employees aged under the age of 25. It currently stands at £8.20 an hour for those 25 and over, £6.45 an hour for 18-20 year-olds, £4.55 for under-18s, and £4.15 an hour for apprentices.
- The National Living Wage, introduced in April 2016 is a new term which describes the National Minimum Wage for over-25s. It currently stands at £8.72 an hour.
These statutory rates are changed every April and those of the London Living Wage every November. The London Living Wage increase is smaller than that the “real’ Living Wage increase for the rest of the UK, which has risen by 20 pence.
City Hall says the number of accredited London Living Wage employers now exceeds 2,000 and that over 80,000 people in London benefit from the voluntary rate, including over 38,000 in “key worker industries” since 2011.
Noteworthy newcomers to the London Living Wage ranks include Tate and Lyle, a long-established employer near the Royal Docks in Newham, Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust and the All-England Lawn Tennis Club, where the Wimbledon championships are help. All three of these have becoming London Living Wage employers since the start of the pandemic.
Gerald Mason, senior vice president of Tate and Lyle Sugars, expressed pride in the company’s accreditation and said, “It has been the cleaners, security guards and catering staff who have kept our factories clean, safe and well-fed over the last six difficult months. We’re pleased to recognise their value and role in helping us feed the nation.”
Sadiq Khan who, like his two predecessor Mayors, Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone, has supported the London Living Wage, said: “The economic upheaval caused by Covid-19 has affected Londoners across our city – so I’m more determined than ever to make the capital a fairer, more equal place to live and work. The fact that so many people will benefit from this increase in their pay is fantastic news and shows that, despite all the difficulties they face, many employers are determined to do the right thing by paying their staff a fair wage.
Despite the successes of the London Living Wage campaign, research by the Living Wage Foundation has found 780,000 jobs in the capital – almost one fifth of the total – still pay at a lower rate. Recent studies by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have found, respectively, that London contains the highest poverty rates in Great Britain and the entire UK.
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