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Boris needs to do more than pay lip-service to London Living Wage

PUBLISHED: 14:54 08 November 2012

Dear Ed... I wholeheartedly welcome the Mayor of London increasing the London Living Wage by 25p to £8.55 an hour.

But I also want to be realistic about how he is encouraging employers to introduce this vital lifeline to their staff in light of there being no increase in the proportion of jobs paying the Living Wage since 2005.

For such an outspoken supporter of the Living Wage, the hypocrisy of the Mayor is unbelievable as he continues to have cleaners working at Transport for London and security staff in the Metropolitan Police being paid the National Minimum Wage, both institutions he is responsible for.

Adult poverty in Inner London affects one-in-three people and there are 680,000 adults in London living in work poverty. This has risen 17 per cent since 2009.

So far, the Mayor’s Living Wage campaign has tackled just 1.3 per cent of the problem—and times are getting tougher.

Private sector rents have risen more than eight per cent and energy prices are up 11 per cent.

Boris also announced fares going up 4.2 per cent in the New Year—another tax on working Londoners!

The Mayor should be doing more to encourage employers to pay the London Living Wage. It’s a small amount that makes a massive difference.

Signing up to the London Living Wage For companies in construction, software, computing, banking and food production costs less than one per cent of their overall wage bill.

The benefits are far-reaching with happier and loyal workers and lower staff turnover.

The financial impact is Government savings of £823m a year by increasing the tax base and reducing welfare benefit spending.

But the gap between the highest and lowest earners continues to widen and inequality in the UK continues to grow.

So Boris needs to do more than pay lip-service to the London Living Wage.

John Biggs

London Assembly budget chair

Member for City and East London

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