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Health and social care

Making London a Living Wage City

With the Living Wage Foundation, we are working to make London a Living Wage City. This multi-year campaign will see us work to put £635m of wages back into the pockets of low-paid workers in London.

As part of this campaign, we are focusing on sectors where low pay is the most rampant, and where employers paying the real Living Wage can have the most impact in London. One of these sectors is health and social care.

Young girl in yellow dress and with a flower headband dances. She's surrounded by giant bubbles and other community leaders holding signs and flags. One banner says 'Bupa do you care'. Image taken outside Bupa headquarters

Health and social care and the real Living Wage

Woman smiling clapping hands with people smiling behind her at an Living Wage for Social Care action

Health and Social Care includes work such as:

Leaders crossing the road with a Living Wage for Carers sign
  • Cleaning
  • Security
  • Porters
  • Catering staff
  • Care workers

Why health and social care?

The workforce in health and social care makes up nearly 10 per cent of London’s working population. However, 16.7 per cent of all jobs in the sector are paid below the London Living Wage.

In the NHS, while nationally agreed pay scales for directly employed staff allow them to meet their everyday needs, services such as cleaning, porters, catering and security are often outsourced and paid below these rates. Rates of pay and conditions are worse still in social care, as 42.3 per cent of all of London’s care workers earn less than the London Living Wage, and the sector in general has a staff turnover rate of 28.5 per cent.

Health and social care is a sector operating 24/7, and therefore one with the highest proportion of night-time workers in London (over 200,000 staff). Data from the GLA indicates that if you work at night, you are twice as likely to be paid below the Living Wage than if you do the same occupation during the day.

“I believe being a Living Wage Employer is the right thing to do, and I’m proud that our Trust has been so since February 2020. Since then, I’ve been focusing on encouraging my colleagues across the health and social care sector in London to accredit. Our staff are our greatest asset and we know that colleagues who feel supported at work provide the best care for our patients and people who use our services. An important way of demonstrating this support to our colleagues is to pay a living wage so they can support themselves and their families.” David Bradley, Chief Executive of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust


Action strand for health and social care

As part of the 'Making London a Living Wage City' campaign, we are supporting cross-sector coalitions to tackle low pay in London. These coalitions are made up of business leaders, workers, and key civil society groups who are coming together to make change.

David Bradley

CEO, South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Mike Bell

Chair, Croydon Health Services NHS Trust

Francesca Okosi

Chief People and Culture Officer, North East London ICS

Ranjeet Kaile

Director of Communications, South East London ICS

Maria Higson

Director of Transformation and Delivery, South East London ICS

Dr Hasnain Abbasi

GP Director, Operose Health

Stephen Webb

Director of Communications, Operose Health

Rachel Roberts

Primary Care Dean, Health Education England, London

Sarah Walker

Associate Workforce Transformation Lead, Health Education England

Sarah Kavanagh

Training Hub Lead, South West London ICS

Michael Wood

Head of Health Economic Partnerships, NHS Confederation / NHS London

Nina Hemmings

Workforce Transformation Lead, Health Education England

Josephine Fletcher

Project Manager, Health Education England

Amy Lamé

Night Time Czar, GLA

Julieta Cuneo

Senior Policy Officer, GLA

Ethan Williams

Senior Policy Officer – Health and Care Partnerships, GLA

Lydia Drummond

Assistant Director of Commissioning - Adults & Health, Newham Council

Hannah Leask

Senior Commissioner - Adult Social Care & Health, Newham Council

Nikki Ralph

Social Care commissioning, Islington Council

Matthew Sheehan

Managing Director, Enabled Living

Farzana Parker

Head of People, Loveday & Co.

Nigel Turner

Trustee, Vincentian Care Plus

Aisling Duffy

CEO, Certitude

Alison Wright

Project Coordinator, Special People

Jamie Brown

Regional Manager - Health Team, UNISON Greater London Region

Lola McEvoy

Regional Organiser - NHS, GMB

Peter Webb

Director, London Care and Support Forum

Andrea Werner

Researcher, Middlesex University

Projection near St Paul's saying 'No more poverty pay, make London a living wage city'

As of June 2023 there are 150 accredited London-based Living Wage employers in health & social care, including 21 accredited NHS Trusts. This means there are a total of 141,271 people employed by an accredited London-based Living Wage employer in health & social care. 9,592 workers are receiving a pay rise to the London Living Wage as a result of accreditations.

This means, in the first year of the project, London-based Living Wage employers in health & social care have grown by 35%, 60% of all NHS Trusts in London are now accredited (up from 23% in May 2022), and 4,415 more staff will receive a pay rise to the London Living Wage.

Workers across London have taken action to make this happen.