Putting an end to poverty pay


Despite being in paid work almost half a million Londoners continue to fall into a ‘working poverty trap’ because their families are paid less than required to fund the basic costs of living in the capital.

The London Living Wage, set annually by the Living Wage Unit at City Hall is currently 7.45 per hour in contrast to the legal minimum wage of 5.73 per hour.

Thousands of families in Southwark where I live and which has very high levels of income inequality and poverty are in work but still living in poverty. So I've been campaigning with local Greens to get Southwark Council to commit to paying all its employees the London living wage and to ensure that its contractors pay the living wage too.

As you can imagine people contracted to provide council services like meals on wheels and home care are among the most poorly paid.

So it's pretty exciting that Green Councillor Jenny Jones' motion to make Southwark Council a Living Wage employer was successfully passed at a full Council meeting last week!

In addition to obliging Southwark Council to pay all staff, including staff employed by contractors providing a service on behalf of Council, the London Living Wage, the motion also commits Council to use local strategic partnerships and other arrangements with the private sector to promote the living wage more widely. Southwark is only the second London borough to adopt an official policy backing a Living Wage.

After our victory we've been on the streets of Southwark raising awareness of the London Living Wage in general and of Southwark's new committment in particular.

We've been asking people to have their photo taken with a message in support of the living wage and been distributing our campaign postcard. The photos form part of our online petition.

We've had an excellent response and will be mounting an exhibition with information on the scandal of poverty in the capital along with photos of our living wage supporters in the New Year.