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‘Cost of Living’ wage rises across the UK

05 November 2013

The national ‘living wage’ has risen in both London and the rest of the UK, MoneyExpert understands.

The change means that employees of firms that currently offer the wage will see their wage rise to £7.65, up by 20p from £7.45.

Firms listed as offering the ‘living wage’ in London have also increased the amount recipients are paid from £8.55 an hour to £8.80.

It is thought that the change will impact over 30,000 low income employees across Britain, who is set to enjoy an annual pay rise of around £400 following the change.

Currently, over 400 workers in the UK are part of the ‘living wage’ campaign, representing an increase of almost 80 from last year. Prominent businesses such as Barclays and Pearson currently offer the wage whilst Oxfam and other small organisations have also signed up.

The ‘living wage’ is voluntary in Britain at the moment, and is determined annually by looking at prices for living essentials such as energy, food, transport and housing. Once these have been analysed, the living wage is determined as the minimum amount an earner should receive to be able to cope with the increasing financial demands of living in the UK.

Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: "The living wage has become a must-have badge of honour for employers. By looking out for the living wage badge, you can now choose to support businesses that are doing right thing. It works just like Fair-trade and will grow even faster with consumer support."

Political Debate

The announcement comes after Labour leader Ed Miliband pledged his commitment to implementing the ‘living wage’, should he be elected in 2015.

He identified his intention to incentivise the wage for firms by promising to introduce a tax break for them in 2016 so that they can recuperate part of the costs for introducing it.

"Hundreds of businesses, charities, Labour councils across Britain, and the Citizens UK living wage campaign are already showing how we can make work pay.

"A One Nation Labour government will work with employers in both the public and private sector to tackle low wages.

"Together we can help lift more people out of poverty with decent pay, raise productivity, and control spending on welfare."

However, Mr Miliband’s remarks have been met with a great deal of criticism from Conservatives and businesses alike who have dubbed it another ‘gimmick’ and referred to it as financially and economically unviable.

One Tory who has bucked the trend is London Mayor Boris Johnson, who has reiterated his support for the ‘living wage’ on Monday, referring to it as ‘pure economic common sense’ and ‘the right thing for our city and our people’. He added that he would make it a priority to convince the CBI to back the wage when he conferred with them later on in the day.

However, London Assembly member, Len Duvall, has criticised Mr Johnson’s support for the wage, highlighting that the impact of the campaign is yet to be witnessed by the London public.

He said: "The mayor claims to have championed the Living Wage in London, but there's been no increase in the proportion of jobs paying LLW since 2005. The mayor's Living Wage Campaign has so far tackled just 1.3% of the problem.

"The mayor needs to do more than pay lip-service to the London Living Wage for Londoners and the 680,000 adults in London living in in-work poverty."

It is thought that the scheme has helped almost 12,000 people in the UK improve financially since its implementation back in 2005.

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