The LLW rate has been announced each year by London’s mayor since London Citizens, who created the LLW in 2001, persuaded Ken Livingstone to create a Living Wage Unit at City Hall. The unit studies the cost of living and each summer announces the new level — now set at £7.85, a rise of 3.3%.
The Unit now finds that someone paid less than about £6.80 an hour in the capital will be living in poverty, even after benefits and tax credits are taken into account.
According to the Guardian, “The rate has seen an overall increase of 17% since it was first introduced by Johnson’s predecessor, Ken Livingstone, in 2005 at £6.70 per hour, following lobbying from the London Citizens charity.”
Five new employers have said they are paying no one less than the LLW: Clifford Chance, Deloitte, Nomura, Prudential and Standard Chartered.
The mayor said: “The success of the London living wage depends on the extent of its acceptance by employers. There are huge benefits to employers and society of implementing the London living wage and today I urge all employers in the capital to follow the GLA’s lead and pay a fairer wage.”
London Citizens converted Boris Johnson to the idea of the living wage prior to the 2008 London Citizens Mayoral Assembly (watch his speech here). Commentators such as Dave Hill described it at the time as a “damascene conversion”. Today Hill writes:
His public embrace of the LLW first occurred at a memorable “accountability assembly” held by London Citizens at Westminster’s Methodist Hall during the 2008 election campaign. At the time I wondered if he was simply crumbling before the fervour of the crowd, but in office he’s proved true to his commitment.
Boris told a London Citizens assembly at the Barbican last November that companies which paid the LLW are “supporting a measure that makes practical business sense: it not only heps to knit the loyalty of your staff and thereby to save on your employment costs, it is, of course, the compassionate thing to do.”
Rev. Paul Regan, a London Citizens trustee, welcomed the mayor’s announcement today.
“In these tough economic times, the living wage is even more important to keep hardworking Londoners out of poverty. The fact we have more and more companies becoming living wage employers goes to show that the living wage is becoming the real minimum for London’s responsible businesses.”