Lambeth named Living Wage leader at awards

17 June 2021

Written by: Lambeth Council

News and announcements

Lambeth Council has been named as the Living Wage Public Sector Champion for supporting key workers to get better pay.

The council won the Public Sector Award on Wednesday, June 16 at the online 2021 Living Wage Champions Awards ceremony. The award recognises Public Sector Living Wage Employers who have shown exceptional leadership in their communities, and across the public sector.

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Lambeth named Living Wage leader at awards

In 2020 following workshops at Lambeth Town Hall two of the borough’s biggest employers, South London and the Maudsley (SLaM) and Guy’s and St Thomas’ (GSTT) NHS trusts gained Living Wage accreditation. It meant that hospital cleaners, caterers, security guards and other key workers got, or will be getting, substantial pay rises as contracts are renewed on better terms.

Cllr Claire Holland, Lambeth Council Leader, said: “It is brilliant that the thousands of employees at two of London’s biggest hospital trusts are now getting paid at least the London Living Wage rate. A full time cleaner, for example, previously on the government’s minimum wage will get an extra £100 a week when paid the London Living Wage.

“Our wonderful NHS partners join Lambeth Council and more than 200 other businesses and organisations in the borough who have signed up to be accredited Living Wage employers. For those on the lowest income getting paid a decent rate makes a real difference to their lives and the lives of their families.

“I am delighted that the council has received this award and I want to thank council officers and my colleagues, in particular Cllr Jon Davies, Cllr Andy Wilson and Cllr Edward Davie for their efforts in supporting the Living Wage.

“I’m also incredibly grateful to our hospital trusts for joining us in the fight against the low pay issues and I urge all other employers in and around the borough to join us in paying workers fairly.”

The real Living Wage is voluntarily paid by employers and is higher than the National Minimum Wage because it is based on actual living costs. In Lambeth the London Living Wage, currently £10.85 an hour, is set by the independent Living Wage Foundation and is adopted by organisations in recognition of the higher living costs in the capital.

Promoting the Living Wage is an integral part of Lambeth Council’s poverty reduction strategy and the organisation has made huge advances in promoting it using commissioning and influencing levers.

Lambeth Council has been a Living Wage accredited employer since 2012 with over 99 per cent of its contracts paying above the Living Wage rate. In 2019 Lambeth Council opened the UK’s first Living Wage Building, International House in Brixton that houses local charities, social enterprises and businesses that all pay above £10.85 an hour. With the Living Wage Foundation the council hosted a workshop with GSTT, SLaM) and King’s College Hospital (KCH) and all three trusts agreed to seek accreditation.

Councillors lobbied the trusts to deliver on this commitment including passing a Full Council Motion and holding a Poverty and Health Summit with them and other partners. Early in 2020 GSTT, one of the UK’s largest public sector institutions with over 21,000 employees, and 10,000-empolyee SLaM gained accreditation. KCH promises to follow suit soon. The council is now supporting Lambeth GP surgeries with three big practices have got accredited so far and schools, which employ 8,000 people, to get accredited.

With council support our local universities, King’s College London and London Southbank are also LW accredited. In 2020 Lambeth Council joined with Southwark and Lewisham to successfully campaign for the Co-op Food Group to pay the London Living Wage.

The council will be consulting on lifting a further 7,000 of the most deprived households out of paying any council tax as part of further efforts to reduce poverty which blights too many lives.