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Living Wage call backed

Posted on 24th June, 2014 by Lincoln Against Poverty

City Council Leader Ric Metcalfe has backed the call for employers to pay the Living Wage if they can afford to do so.

The Living Wage Commission, an independent inquiry into the future of the Living Wage which brings together leading figures from business, trade unions and civil society, has today (Tuesday, June 24) published its interim report into the Living Wage.

The document provides detailed analysis of the rise of low pay and working poverty and that spiralling costs and stagnating wages at the bottom create a ‘double squeeze’ on the lowest paid.

The Living Wage is a calculated minimum income standard using a consensus of what different sized households need to maintain a standard of living.

Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York and chair of the commission, said: “The idea of making work pay is an empty slogan to millions of people who are hard pressed and working hard; but find themselves in a downward social spiral.

“They are often in two or three jobs just to make ends meet. Meanwhile the UK taxpayer picks up the bills in tax credits, in-work benefits and decreased demand in the economy.

“With the economy showing signs of recovery, employers that can pay a Living Wage must do so. They should choose between continuing to make gains on the back of poverty wages, or doing the right thing and paying a fair wage for a hard day’s work.”

City of Lincoln Council adopted the Living Wage last summer which meant its 39 lowest paid members of staff benefitted from more than £1 an hour extra as it is set at a higher level than the National Minimum Wage set by HMRC.

One of the authority’s priorities is to protect the poorest people in Lincoln.

Cllr Metcalfe said: “I wholeheartedly support Dr Sentamu’s comment that business which can afford to pay their staff the living wage should do so.

“Workers in any job deserve a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

“No-one should have to go home and worry about having to put food on the table or heat their home when they’ve been out and worked hard for many hours.

“We know from the work that has gone into the Anti-Poverty Strategy we recently adopted that low pay is a real problem in the city and is one that needs action on.

“The Living Wage not only benefits the recipient but also the employer. Research has shown employers enjoy better recruitment and retention rates, lower absenteeism, an improvement in people’s work and a reputation for being an ethical employer which cares about its staff.

“It makes great business sense and I strongly encourage any business to consider the merits of adopting it.”