How the Living Wage could fix the UK

08 July 2013

With inflation levels rising rapidly many (low) wages have remained inert. So much so that in some areas of the UK the cost of living is barely covered and working people go without bare essentials. What is frightening is the immediate and long-term damage to the country’s limping economy and the horrific effect it strikes into the lives of working people who still do not surpass the breadline. If you are facing adverse poverty in work, why work? Where’s the incentive for those on benefits to get a job?

“But it is in-work poverty that is becoming the modern face of hardship, and at the same time support for working people is being cut. The high level of in-work poverty undermines any idea that better incentives to enter work, the centrepiece of Universal Credit, is some kind of cure-all.”

But things are changing. There is light at the end of the tunnel…

The Living Wage is a new campaign aiming to eradicate unfairly low pay in some jobs by setting an hourly rate (done independently and updated annually), encouraging companies to register, become affiliated and support their employees who deserve to afford to live. The Centre for Civil Society Limited is a subsidiary of Citizens UK Charity and is accountable for the programme in which any company or organisation can apply for the Living Wage Employer accreditation. By adopting the Living Wage policy, companies can reap the rewards of not only officially paying fair wages to those hovering around the minimum wage threshold, but increase the morale of their staff and in some cases productivity.

By joining the Living Wage scheme as a company, records show the enormously positive impact it has by: reducing employee absenteeism, dropping staff turnover and overall increasing spirits of employees. “70% of employers felt that the Living Wage had increased consumer awareness of their organisation’s commitment to be an ethical employer”, according to the Living Wage website.

They also stated: “The causes of poverty are complex and in order to improve lives there should be a package of solutions across policy areas. The Living Wage can be part of the solution. Over 45,000 families have been lifted out of working poverty as a direct result of the Living Wage.”

The current Living Wage is £7.45 and £8.55 in London. Wage levels are calculated yearly by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University and in London by the Greater London Authority, which covers all boroughs in Greater London. Right now in Britain the minimum wage for adults over 21 is £6.19 soon to be increasing to £6.31 in October 2013. Living off low wages is especially hard when faced with a barrage of inflation and VAT for everyday items essential for living. The Living Wage is a fairer way to pay and allows people who work to live a better life – away from the grasp of poverty.

No Limits promotes equality and fairness, so it was a natural step to apply to the organisation supporting living wages. Soon No Limits will be displaying the official logo of Living Wage on the website and will be legitimately affiliated with a company that promotes fair pay, extending to all employees who fall under the minimum threshold.

More companies should apply. More people would work. Working people could afford to live.

That’s fair pay.

Max Willis

Marketing & Communications Intern