London’s Living Wage – relevant to funders?

Trust for London has a commitment to tackling poverty in London and its work has revealed the extent of in-work poverty. It supports a London Citizens’ campaign on the promotion of the London Living Wage, an hourly figure (currently £8.30) calculated independently on the price of essential goods and services, reflecting the cost of living in London. Many of the Canary Wharf employers have signed up to it as have the GLA, some hospitals and boroughs, and all employers on the Olympics site. There is a clear moral case for employers to pay at least this minimum level. Research is under way on the business case, but already employers report savings from lower absenteeism and sickness absence, lower turnover of staff (and thus savings on HR costs and training).
At a meeting for funders on 10 February, Trust for London and the Living Wage Foundation shared their experience and funders were generally convinced by the case for this level of minimum pay but also shared some of the challenges in implementation. Trust for London is a living wage employer itself and encourages grant recipients to comply too, sometimes needing to add to a grant to enable that to happen. Bigger voluntary organisations can be resistant where they have many employees under the LLW level. There is some case law to help local authorities check on implementing this in their commissioning; until more boroughs are signed up there will be complications in multi-borough services when not all of the boroughs involved comply (e.g. in residential care homes). 
Funders were complimentary about Trust for London’s commitment to this and thanked Austin Taylor-Laybourn for organising the meeting, a great chance to learn about the campaign and the accreditation process for employers and to share some of the detail of implementation.
For more information see www.livingwage.org.uk or talk to rhys.moore@citizens.org