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South Bank firms highlight benefits of paying London Living Wage

As new statistics show that one in five Lambeth residents earns less than the London Living Wage of £9.75 an hour, a South Bank business organisation has published a report demonstrating that higher pay can be good for employers and workers alike.

South Bank firms highlight benefits of paying London Living Wage
Joanne McCartney AM
South Bank firms highlight benefits of paying London Living Wage
Cllr Lib Peck

The new report – Living Wage South Bank – was launched last week at Rambert with guest speakers Joanne McCartney, the Deputy Mayor of London and Cllr Lib Peck, the leader of Lambeth Council.

The project was carried by South Bank Business Improvement District, in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation and London Citizens, with grant support from the Walcot Foundation. It draws on work done on business engagement, qualitative and quantitative surveys, and face-to-face interviews.

The findings reflect the value that consumers put on goods and services that that are provided by accredited employers, and explores the impact of accreditation on business growth, competitiveness, and social and economic mobility. It also looked at some of the barriers faced by employers in achieving accreditation.

The research findings highlight how three-quarters of people would pay more for goods and services from a company that paid the London Living Wage, and 30 per cent would pay a lot more. The Living Wage reflects the cost of rent, travel, food and bills and is currently set at 9.75 per hour in London.

Nic Durston, chief executive of South Bank BID, said: "The Living Wage South Bank project and the associated research that underpins it highlights the potential benefits to businesses in paying the London Living Wage, and in becoming accredited as doing so. These benefits include consumer choices and spending, brand reputation, and how employers and businesses can attract more residents into jobs.

"Several South Bank businesses and employers already recognise the value of paying the Living Wage, as several are already accredited and others have become so during the project. We will offer support to any South Bank employer who is considering becoming an accredited London Living Wage employer – whether advice and guidance, brokering business to business support, or providing further insight into ongoing research."

The South Bank BID report was launched in the same week that Lambeth's cabinet considered new statistics which show that 19 per cent of employees living in Lambeth were paid below the London Living Wage in 2015-16. This is below the London average (21 per cent) and slightly below the baseline rate (20 per cent in 2013-14). This halts a rise in low paid employment among residents in recent years.

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