More than 10,000 UK employers have now signed up to pay the Living Wage, the voluntary rate suggested by the Living Wage Foundation.
The Foundation said that almost half of that figure (4,500) have pledged to pay the rate since March 2020, the start of the pandemic.
The Living Wage is £9.90 per hour outside London and £11.05 per hour in London, compared to the statutory minimum rate set by the government of £9.50.
The rate is set annually by the foundation and the calculation is based on the cost of food, bills and rent. Research from Cardiff Business School estimates signatory employers have paid out £1.8 billion in extra wages since the campaign started 20 years ago.
New signatories include iconic venue the Royal Albert Hall and social care charity The Fed. More than half of FTSE 100 companies are Living Wage employers.
Research out today (11 May) from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research estimates that 1.5 million households in the UK will struggle to pay food and energy bills over the next year due to inflation driving up prices.
The think-tank wants the government to raise Universal Credit payments by £25 per week between May and October to help households with rising costs, but there was no indication of any cost-of-living support in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech.
LWF director Katherine Chapman said rising inflation meant the foundation’s work was “more vital than ever”.
“We are facing the worst income squeeze on record and no one will feel it more sharply than the nearly 5 million people in low paid and insecure jobs, already struggling on tight budgets,” she said. “It’s crucial that employers who can afford it protect those who will be most affected by price rises by paying a wage based on the cost of living.”
Craig Hassall, CEO of Royal Albert Hall, said it was important that workers and contractors were “properly compensated for their efforts”.
“Whenever anybody writes in to comment about their experience of coming to the Hall, it is always a member of staff who makes them feel special, who goes the extra mile to make sure they have a wonderful experience, who looks them in the eye and shows them that they matter,” he said.
“We know that staff who feel supported at work provide the best experiences for our customers and visitors to the Hall, and paying the London Living Wage is a way for us to demonstrate to our staff that we really value them.
“We pay all of our employees the London Living Wage and we are now on a path to ensure that all of our partners also pay the London or Living Wage. This is a fundamental right, irrespective of who signs your pay cheque.”