The Government raised the national minimum wage today to £5.80 per hour, a welcome 7p extra for Britain’s working poor. But here in London, and in many other expensive parts of the country, it’s still far too low.
The London Living Wage, calculated by GLA Economics to meet basic living costs, currently stands at £7.60 per hour, almost £2 an hour more! Just imagine earning 23% less than the amount you’d need just to get by. Or imagine working an extra 12 hours per week to make ends meet.
Working poverty accounts for almost half of all child poverty in this city, and one fifth of all London workers – almost 400,000 people – earn less than the Living Wage. That goes up to 47% for part time workers.
Until everyone – especially public bodies and the Government itself – pays the Living Wage or above, we’re failing people and families that are trying to earn a decent life. Darren Johnson has called on the Government to follow the example set by the likes of the GLA, the London Borough of Southwark and even the Royal Bank of Scotland. No small coincidence that it was pressure from Darren and Jenny, the Green members of the London Assembly, who first got the GLA Living Wage Unit set-up, and whose local parties pushed for the first two London boroughs (Southwark and Lewisham) to commit to the policy.