Five million found working for less than it costs to live

The new Bishop of Durham Paul Butler
The new Bishop of Durham Paul Butler

The Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler has welcomed the new nationwide Living Wage rate as £7.65, calculated by the Centre for Social Research at Loughborough University for the CitizensUK campaign to see working people paid enough to live on.

The Living Wage campaign was started twelve years ago by families and community groups in East London and has since won over £240 million in extra wages lifting 45,000 people from working poverty. The campaign only recently arrived in Nottingham, driven by Nottingham Citizens, a coalition of 42 different faith communities, trade unions, schools and charities.

Over 100 people came together this morning at 8am in Market Square where, flanked by police cars and fire engines from newly Living Wage employers in the emergency services, Bishop Paul announced the new figure together with the children from Blue Bell Hill Primary school.

With the number of accredited employers paying a Living Wage rising from 60 to 400 in the last year, today marks a shift in gear to tackle working poverty across the nation, which has revealed to be more necessary than ever by new research from KPMG – the international accountancy firm. They have found that five million people are working for less than the Living Wage across the county, 27% of women and 16% of men.

The Revd Karen Rooms, Chair of Nottingham Citizens said : “Is this the new normal? Five million people working for less than it costs to live? That’s simply not good enough. Working people are struggling harder than ever and deserve to make enough to get by. In these statistics are real people, working two or three jobs with no time to see the kids, stacking up the debts and under more and more pressure.

The Living Wage makes good business sense, employers report major gains in productivity as well as reduced costs in staff training and turnover. What’s more, we know that when employers shirk their responsibilities it’s us, the taxpayers, who have to pick up the pieces with the working tax credit.”

Announcing Nottinghamshire Police’s commitment, Commissioner Tipping said: “I am immensely proud to announce that Nottinghamshire Police is to be the first force in the country to sign up to the Living Wage.”

Bishop Paul Butler commented : “This is about who we want to be as a society, about respecting the importance of work and recognising that ever individual living below the poverty line is a moral failing for us as a community.

The Living Wage is a cornerstone of the common good: good for families, for employers and the communities they serve.”

Research has found that Living Wage accreditation improves staff morale and enhances retention rates. The Living Wage Foundation said 80% of accredited employers reported improvements in work quality following its introduction, 66% of employers reported an increase in staff recruitment and retention, 25% reported a fall in absenteeism since the Living Wage was introduced to contracted services and 70% witnessed an improvement in consumer awareness of their organisation’s commitment to be regarded as an ethical employer.

For further details please contact George Gabriel, organiser for Nottingham Citizens and local spokesman for the Living Wage Foundation on 07969151841.