Mayor Damien Egan pictured with staff at the newly opened Catford Mews
Mayor Damien Egan pictured with staff at the newly opened Catford Mews

New data – released to coincide with the start of Living Wage Week (November 11th – 17th) – shows that the Living Wage has put nearly £750,000 in the pockets of low paid workers in Lewisham since the start of the campaign. The news comes as the number of Living Wage accredited employers increases to 80.

Lewisham Labour is committed to tackling poverty pay and promoting the Living Wage. While London is one of the wealthiest cities in the world, millions of Londoners and tens of thousands of Lewisham residents live in poverty. Most people living in poverty in Lewisham are in a household in which someone is in work.

The Living Wage is a voluntary minimum wage rate, calculated by the Living Wage Foundation according to the cost of living. It is the amount needed for workers to live free from poverty. On the fist day of Living Wage Week, the Living Wage Foundation has announced that the Living Wage has increased to £10.75 in London, over £2.50 higher than the Government’s so-called National Living Wage.

Lewisham Council was the joint first local authority in the country to become an accredited Living Wage employer in 2012, meaning all employees and subcontracted workers receive at least the London Living Wage. The Council has also introduced a business rates discount – worth up to £6,000 – to employers that do the right thing and get accredited as Living Wage employers.

Last year, Lewisham Labour committed to doubling the number of Living Wage employers from 47 to 94 by 2020. After less than two years, Lewisham is well on course to smash the target, with the number of accredited Living Wage employers increasing to 80. Catford Mews and Filigree Communications have become the latest employers to get accredited.

New data, released to coincide with Living Wage Week shows that the Living Wage has put £743,315 into the pocket of workers in Lewisham since the start of the campaign in 2001.

However, there is still a long way to go; over 14,000 people working in Lewisham – 1 in 4 of the total – are paid less than the newly announced Living Wage rate.

Labour have pledged to immediately increase the minimum wage to £10/hr if they win the general election in December, which would mean a pay rise for thousands of residents in Lewisham.

Mayor Damien Egan said;

After nearly ten years of Tory Government, the number of people in work but in poverty has reached a record high. Tens of thousands of Lewisham residents are in work, but stuck in poverty. 

“Nobody should have to live in poverty. We are committed to building an economy that works for the many, and that’s why we’re determined to tackle poverty pay and promote the Living Wage across Lewisham.”

Cllr Joe Dromey, Cabinet lead for Employment and Skills said;

We are proud that Lewisham was the first Living Wage council, and we are delighted that the number of Living Wage employers in the borough is growing so rapidly. The Living Wage campaign has made a real difference for our community, putting nearly £750,000 in the pocket of low paid workers locally.”

“But with 14,000 workers in Lewisham being paid below the Living Wage, there is a long way to go. So we are calling on all employers in Lewisham to do the right thing, and pay at least the Living Wage.

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