Mayor of London announces increase in living wage and commits to narrowing ethnic pay gap

London Living Wage is set above £10 for the first time and Mayor calls for more inclusive actions from businesses in the capital.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced early this Monday, a 4.6% increase in London Living Wage from £9.75 to £10.20 per hour.

Choosing the living the wage is a voluntary move from companies. In London there has been an increase of almost 500 in the number of accredited employees who backed the living wage over the last year. This resulted in over 1,500 companies based in the capital paying employees with what is considered to be the right salary for people to make ends meet.

National minimum wage, however, remains at £7.50 an hour for over-25s and £7.05 for 21 to 24 years old.

The move is supported by Living Wage Foundation, who “believes a fair day’s work deserves a fair’s day pay”. London living wage was first launched in 2011, but the Foundation has been stressing the importance of living wage since 2001. The movement started in East London, in a time when the government’s minimum wage was £3.70 an hour.

Katherine Chapman, Director of Living Wage Foundation said the new rates “will be a relief for thousands of UK workers.”

“Great businesses know that, even during these tough times, not only is fair pay the right thing to do but paying the real Living Wage brings big benefits. Nine out of ten accredited Living Wage employers report real benefits including improved retention, reputation, recruitment and staff motivation,” Chapman added.

Essentially, the living wage benefits not only employees but also businesses themselves. According to the Living Wage Foundation, 86% of the accredited companies say it had improved their reputation and 75% say it has increased motivation from employees.


Credit: Pixabay

Apart from keeping his promise of raising the living wage for Londoners, the Mayor also called for more inclusive actions from business to reduce the ethnic pay gap, which still remains “unacceptably high”, to his words.

The median wage for white groups is at £16.23 per hour, a remarkable difference compared to the £13.46 per hour that all black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) groups get.

Nineteen percent of White British workers are in low paid work – significantly less than the 46% of Bangladeshi and Pakistani, and 35% of Black, African, Caribbean and Black British employees in the same situation.

Adele Etwaroo, employability advisor at the University of Westminster, praised the Mayor’s initiative and highlights some recent efforts made by independent bodies to increase BAME inclusion in the job market: “There is an organisation called Creative Access which advertised paid internships and jobs for those from a BAME background. The salary is paid at the equivalent of National Living Wage.” 

Creative Access is the only organisation in the UK dedicated to recruiting BAME talents in its field, and it aims to support the creative industries to be more representative of how British society truly looks like.

Other institutions are also becoming more conscious of inclusion of minority groups in the job market, and are reaching out to universities to improving employability for students from BAME backgrounds. The brand new Westminster Working Cultures London is the result of a partnership between the University of Westminster and Santander. The programme focuses on strengthening students’ skills by offering mentoring, networking opportunities and professional insight in their chosen field.


Words: Pamela Machado | Subbing: Adi Cohen


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