London Living Wage

by James Barber on 9 November 2012

Congratulations on Southwark Council being formally accredited with paying the London Living Wage.

Southwark council has been paying a London Living Wage for many years and I’m proud that a Lib Dem led council started doing this all those year ago. This was despite the then Labour national government telling us it was neither “appropriate or necessary” and could lead to “inflationary pressures”.

But what does this accreditation mean?

It means the London Living Wage Unit calculates a figure every year to ensure people live don’t live in poverty. This isnt just a nice thing to do. Paying people a wage they can properly live on rather than just barely survive usually results in dramatic cuts in absenteeism os its good for business.

So no change then for Southwark Employees who have been paid the London Living Wage for many years. It has gradually meant that as contracts with third parties that employ people outside London have ended that they’ve been replaced with contracts where the contractor commits to the London Living Wage. Finally this year all contracts employing people outside London have ended.

It means contracts such as the one with Liberata for Council Tax collection which had call centres and admin offices across the UK have been terminated and replaced with workers in London. So rather than paying a Borrow in Furness worker the London Living Wage which would have been strange when the cost of living there is so much lower.

Also legal advice in 2008 was that EU law meant that the London Living Wage could not be specified in procurement processes. How legal advice angle and contractors change.

So I welcome the accreditation but practically little has actually changed.

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One Response

  1. tony harms says:

    EU competition law will be very important in how the new clinical commissioning groups work so it would be interesting and helpful if you have any links to commentary on why the legal advice has changed.

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