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Lewisham Council launches Business Rate incentive to promote Living Wage

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Lewisham Council yesterday launched an incentive scheme to promote the Living Wage across Lewisham.

The Living Wage is a voluntary rate of pay, calculated by the Living Wage Foundation, that is required for people to live free from poverty. It is higher than the minimum wage and the so-called 'National Living Wage'. In London the Living Wage is £9.40 an hour.

In 2012 Lewisham was the joint first council to become an accredited Living Wage employer. The Labour council is now looking to encourage and support other local employers to pay the Living Wage.

Employers who get accredited with the Living Wage Foundation will be eligible for a discount on their Business Rates equivalent to five times the accreditation fee, and for promotion through Council communication channels such as Lewisham Life.

Mayor Steve Bullock said; 'We are proud to have been the first Council in the country to be a Living Wage employer. But we want to do more to spread the Living Wage across Lewisham.'

Cllr Joe Dromey, Cabinet Member for Policy and Performance said; "One in four people working in Lewisham earn below the Living Wage. Nobody should have to live in poverty, and we are determined to tackle low pay locally. The Living Wage is good for employees, and it's good for employers too. We want to work with local employers in Lewisham to drive up pay and tackle poverty. We are making them offer, and we hope they'll take us up on it."

Sadiq Khan MP, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London said “Labour Councils like Lewisham have been at the forefront of promoting the Living Wage in London. Plans to provide business rate incentives will reward businesses that do the right thing, and lift more working families out of poverty. In London today over 1.2 million people who live in poverty are part of a working family. I want to make London a Living Wage City – one in which everyone is paid a real Living Wage. We have to work closely with employers to make this a reality, and Lewisham’s ambitious plans are once again leading the way.”

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