South London businesses to celebrate the Living Wage

5 November 2019

Written by: Lambeth Council

Better and Fairer Lambeth - Jobs and skills - News and announcements - Sustainable growth and opportunity

Lambeth council is marking Living Wage Week with a joint celebration with Lewisham and Southwark council that will showcase south London businesses that have committed to paying their staff the higher rate. The event will be held at London South Bank University on November 12.

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South London businesses to celebrate the Living Wage

Lambeth council also runs a year round campaign to support the Living Wage, offered a business rates discount covering the cost of getting accredited, encouraging its partner organisations to take up the Living Wage, running workspaces across the borough that pay the London Living Wage and hosting London’s largest affordable workspace – Brixton’s International House – where all employers must also be signed up.

Cllr Jon Davies, Lambeth’s London Living Wage Champion, said:

“This council is determined to tackle low pay – a persistent and significant issue in the borough. Fostering, supporting and promoting the Living Wage is central in our push to tackle the issue and ensure people working in Lambeth don’t find themselves living on the breadline.

“I want to thank every business and organisation in the borough that has embraced the living wage agenda. It can make such a difference to people’s lives, as well as providing very real benefits for the businesses themselves.”

The council’s focus on the Living Wage is based on statistics that show in Lambeth 78.0 per cent of 16- to 64-year-olds in March 2019 were in employment, compared to 75.4% nationally and 74.2% across London. But wage levels have been stagnant, with low pay and in-work poverty remaining important issues. Twenty per cent of Lambeth residents who are in work are low paid, and 16 per cent of jobs in Lambeth are low paid.

Lambeth council has been an accredited Living Wage employer since 2012. By 2018 the London Living Wage was paid as the minimum wage on 99 per cent of council contracts and this year Lambeth council’s new house builder Homes for Lambeth became an accredited Living Wage employer.

Lambeth now has more than 145 businesses in the borough that have signed up to the Living Wage for accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation. They include Lowie, a Lambeth based women’s fashion brand that blends traditional techniques and heritage elements in a modern way with unique bold knits and prints.

Lowie was founded by Lambeth resident Bronwyn Lowenthal in 2002 with support from The Prince’s Trust, initially operating from a market stall. The business now has a shop in Herne Hill, a shop in Crystal Palace and a studio in Brixton town centre. There’s a wholesale side of the firm that sells to more than 50 stores across the UK and EU.

Lowie became an accredited Living Wage employer in July this year.

Bronwyn Lowenthal - Lowie

Bronwyn Lowenthal, Founder of Lowie

Bronwyn said: “Our first ever product were socks made from scraps of yarn and we have expanded since then along those lines, first with knitwear, and now a full womenswear range. The brand has always been sustainable from an ecological perspective with a strong connection with the maker.

“We also aim to reflect that by being a fair and ethical employer. Most of my five full time and four part-time employees are Lambeth residents, and they all receive the London Living Wage as a minimum. I got accredited because I feel you have to have a set of standards in society and accreditation supports that. I want my staff to feel appreciated, and committing to the Living Wage is a way of demonstrating that.

“It’s also really important because we know how hard it can be in London to pay the rent, especially for people living in the inner-city. The process of getting accredited was easy, and if as an employer you want some stability and commitment from your staff its really important that they’re paid fairly

“Getting accredited has also set an important precedent for other employers in the area.”

The London Living Wage is currently £10.55 per hour. The rates are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence about living standards in London and the UK. The new rate will be announced on Nov 11 during Living Wage Week (Nov 11 to Nov 17)

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