Living Wage research earns Queen Mary’s a place on UK’s ‘breakthrough’ list

Queen Mary University... on Britain's top 100 list of 'btreakthroughs'. Picture: Google

Queen Mary University... on Britain's top 100 list of 'btreakthroughs'. Picture: Google - Credit: Google

The role in helping create the ‘Living Wage’ has put Queen Mary University on a list of the country’s best ‘breakthrough’ moments for its “impact on people’s lives”.

Researchers at the Mile End campus led the studies which came up with the evidence to press employers to improve pay rather than just dish out the legal minimum.

The hourly rate is independently calculated on what it costs to live and support a family in London, at £10.55, or £9 elsewhere.

The research at the university’s School of Geography was the first to show that a decent wage could save the government £1 billion a year on income support in London alone.

“It’s clear that this benefits everybody,” the university’s Prof Jane Wills said. “The Living Wage reduces the money the state has to give low-pay workers to top up their income, to overcome working poverty.”

Queen Mary’s was the first accredited university to pay the Living Wage in 2006, when the campaign was launched by Telco, the East London Community Organisation forerunner of UK Citizens civic network in Whitechapel.

It is also a founding partner of the Living Wage Foundation that recognises employers who take cost of living into account.

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The Living Wage is on a list of 100 ‘breakthroughs’ as part of Universities UK’s ‘Made at Uni’ campaign to change public perceptions of universities.

Also on the top 100 list is Greenwich University’s Natural Resources Institute close by on the other side of the Thames for its work on preserving shelf life of the cassava root crop, a staple food for 500 million people in the developing world.

The university came up with the ‘Cassava bag’ with built-in curing technology which extends shelf life by eight days, overcoming the 40 per cent lost through pests, disease or lack of access to markets.