Everyone needs a certain level of income to afford the basics for a healthy life. People’s Health Trust is a funder of the Living Wage Places scheme which supports employers in cities, towns, and boroughs to work together so that more local businesses and institutions offer fair pay through the Living Wage, creating fairer, healthier communities across Great Britain.
In this blog, Senior Project Manager for Living Wage Places tells us about Cardiff where the scheme has improved pay for thousands of low paid workers.
If you were to catch a train to Cardiff you could create an entire day of activities using the services of the city’s Living Wage Employers.
From the train and bus services taking you to and around the city (Cardiff Bus and Transport for Wales are accredited Living Wage Employers) and the numerous cafes and cultural centres that are accredited (including Wales Millennium Centre, Dusty’s Pizza, Waterloo Tea, No Fit State Circus), to the police stations and hospitals, the city now boasts one of the UK’s largest clusters of Living Wage employers.
If you were to pass through the city during Living Wage Week you might witness the Living Wage flags flying from Cardiff Castle and, popping into Wales’s first Living Wage Building at Cardiff University on Monday 14t November you could have joined the celebration of Cardiff’s renewed Making a Living Wage City plan.
Cardiff was one of the first cities to be recognised by the Living Wage Foundation for its ambition to become a Living Wage City, in 2019.
A Living Wage City action group was created with representatives from the city’s accredited employers from the public sector (Cardiff Council and Cardiff University) from its business community (Capital Law) and from civil society and the third sector (Citizens Cymru Wales, Cardiff and Vale Credit Union and Cardiff Third Sector Council).
Back then the city had just 82 employers that were accredited Living Wage Employers. The Living Wage Foundation accredits employers when they pay all of their directly employed and contracted staff the real Living Wage, currently £10.90, above the government’s minimum and the only rate independently calculated to be based on what people need to get by.
In 2019, before Covid-19 and the cost of living crisis, the coalition of employers that came together in Cardiff had a single aim: to ensure that more people in the city were being paid a rate of pay that they could live on. They worked together to create a plan to double the number of living wage employers in the city over the next three years.
Now, in 2022 and in the midst of a host of economic challenges, Cardiff has 186 Living Wage employers, employing between them approximately 70,000 people. Around 11,000 people in the city have been given a pay rise as a result of Living Wage accreditation.
In 2017 42,000 people in Cardiff earned below the real living wage; now that figure is 24,000*.
What’s good for workers is also good for the city. Cardiff University calculates that an additional £50m has gone into the city since 2012 as a result of increased numbers of workers being paid a rate they can live on.
Cardiff is just one of 12 recognised Living Wage Places across the UK, ranging from the Royal Docks in Newham in east London to the city-region of Greater Manchester.
Every place takes a different approach to tackling in-work poverty, but what unites them is the power of working together to improve the lives of low paid workers. Through Living Wage Places, Cardiff is doing its part to help people afford a decent standard of living to maintain good health, which is more important than ever.
*based on 2021 ONS data
For more info on Living Wage Places see here: https://www.livingwage.org.uk/living-wage-places
People’s Health Trust funds Living Wage Places in Salford, Cardiff, Southwark, Birmingham, Islington, Greater Manchester, Sunderland, Norwich and the Royal Docks in Newham. Find out more.
Clare Goff is Senior Project Manager of Living Wage Places at the Living Wage Foundation