This week we, Bristol City Council, were accredited as a Living Wage Employer.
This is a huge achievement for us. I am immensely proud. It is yet another 2016 manifesto pledge delivered.
The council now joins more than 220 South West employers officially committed to paying the living wage. The announcement comes at the same time that the Living Wage rate is increased by 25p to £9 an hour in line with rising living costs.
The Living Wage is an independently set hourly rate of pay for everyone over 18, calculated according to the basic costs of living, and is higher than the current minimum wage for those aged over 25 set by the Government.
It is right that work is properly compensated and wages enable people to live a full live with dignity. The fact that the National Minimum Wage has not kept up with the rise in the cost of living means hundreds of thousands of people in the South West do not earn enough to cover the basics of living. A fifth of jobs in the region still pay less than the ‘real’ living wage.
We hope to lead by example in promoting employee economic and social wellbeing for our workers; we hope that other large employers in the region follow suit and do the right thing. A living wage is good for workers and the economy (because people spend more) and the public purse (because the public sector isn’t subsidising poverty wage packets).
Now we have opened the conversation about making Bristol a real living wage city. This could include a Bristol-specific living wage (probably somewhere between the national real living wage and the London weighting).