The Living Wage is defined as the amount required to live free of poverty, and under Labour Lewisham Council became the first Local Authority to be awarded “Living Wage Accredited” status. The Labour Group warmly welcomes Living Wage Week, an initiative Lewisham Labour has strived to be at the forefront of.
Lewisham Council is proud that on top of being an accredited Living Wage employer, it also encourages other employers in the Borough to commit to this standard as well. One such initiative is the Business Rate discount that was introduced last year to employers who become accredited with the Living Wage Foundation. The discount is worth up to £5,000 and is available to employers who commit to paying their staff the Living Wage. As well as the generous discount, employers will also be offered free advertising in Lewisham Life – the council magazine that goes to over 100,000 households in the borough.
These plans have supported more employers to pay the Living Wage and help tackle in-work poverty. Lewisham faces higher than average levels of in-work poverty; one in four jobs in the borough pays below the Living Wage. Across the city, there are 1.2 million Londoners who live in a working family but are still in poverty, up by 70% over the last decade.
Vicky Foxcroft MP for Lewisham Deptford said “I was a Councillor in Lewisham when we introduced the Living Wage. It shows the difference Labour can make in local government. I’m delighted that Lewisham Council are going further and supporting local employers who do the right thing. We will only tackle poverty through making work pay.”
Sarah Vero, Director of Living Wage Foundation said: “we are thrilled to see this leadership from the London Borough of Lewisham. Lewisham was one of the first Local Authorities to take up the Living Wage accreditation and are now extending this commitment to encouraging local employers to go Living Wage. There are now over 2,000 Living Wage accredited employers showing that the Living Wage is good for people and for business.”
Cllr Kevin Bonavia, Cabinet Member for Resources said “the massive cuts in public funding by the Tory government – including nearly half of Lewisham Council's budget since 2010 – has caused a huge strain on public services to our local businesses and residents. We hope that this cost-effective offer from the Council will help our businesses do the right thing for people working in our Borough."
For more information on becoming a Lewisham Living Wage employer please click here
And for more information on Living Wage Week and the Foundation please click here