Relative poverty affects almost a fifth of people living in working households in the UK. That is an increase of 40 per cent from the mid-1990s, according the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).
One way People’s Health Trust and the Living Wage Foundation are tackling this is by supporting organisations to pay the real Living Wage because we know work is a social determinant of health, and that good and well-paid work supports improved health.
As part of that, the Living Wage Foundation has launched a toolkit which provides advice for cities, towns, boroughs, zones and buildings to start their journey to becoming a Living Wage Place.
'Living Wage Places: A Toolkit on Tackling Low Pay by Celebrating Local Action’ is aimed at businesses and communities that are interested in developing a place-based approach to increasing the number of people earning a real Living Wage, and tackling in-work poverty.
The Trust is supporting the Living Wage Places scheme, which has seen Dundee become the first city recognised for its plans to build a Living Wage City.
Since then, there has been a wave of interest from areas across the UK, including the UK’s first Living Wage Building in Brixton, and Glenrothes – the first town recognised for its plans to become a Living Wage Town.
Cities, towns and boroughs are recognised for creating a Living Wage Place when a group of local employers, led by the council and including other anchor institutions such as hospitals, universities, transport providers, cultural and sport organisations, agree to become Living Wage Employers and work together on a plan to increase accreditations locally.
Research by The Smith Institute - commissioned by the Living Wage Foundation, and part-funded by People’s Health Trust - showed that wider adoption of the real Living Wage could provide an economic boost to UK cities worth over £1.1billion.
The report found that if just a quarter of those on low incomes saw their pay raised to the real Living Wage, in ten of the UK’s major city regions, a subsequent increase in wages, productivity and spending could deliver a £1.1billion economic boost to major UK cities.
The research showed that a pay rise to the real Living Wage for just a quarter of those paid below it, and living within the UK’s ten major city regions, would mean an average annual pay rise of over £1,700 for half a million people.
Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “There is a growing consensus that collective efforts within defined geographic places can help re-design the way our local economies work.
“Living Wage Places is an important new scheme which uses place identity to increase Living Wage accreditations and tackle low pay, benefitting families, communities and local economies. We have already seen the impact on local areas when major anchor institutions such as councils or universities accredit as Living Wage Employers and use their local influence to encourage other local employers to join them. The Living Wage Places scheme is now creating clusters of accredited Living Wage Employers throughout the country and has the potential to shift the low pay landscape in the UK.”
Read the toolkit.
To read more news from the Trust, click here.
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