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Yorkshire Employers Celebrate Living Wage Week with Pledge to Tackle Low Pay

Friday 6th November 2015

60 employers, including private firms, NGOs and local authorities met at St George's Centre in Leeds on Tuesday 3rd November to mark Living Wage Week.


The employers were brought together by Leeds Citizens, a civil society alliance taking action for the common good of the city, The Living Wage Foundation,  an initiative of Citizens UK who recognises and celebrates the leadership shown by Living wage employers in the UK and Path Yorkshire, whose 'Second Chance' programme,  provides bespoke training and support services for Leeds residents in low paid work.

Living Wage Week is a national week of events and action to raise the profile of the Living Wage - an independently calculated rate of pay, based on the cost of Living and set by the Living Wage Foundation at £8.25/hour. The rate is significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £6.70/hour and the new national minimum wage premium for over 25s of £7.20/hour, which will come into force across the UK in April 2016.

There are 114 accredited Living Wage employers in the Yorkshire region. Research from KPMG released earlier this week reveals that 26% of workers (approx. 519,000 people) in Yorkshire and Humber are paid less than the Living Wage.

35 employers received Living Wage Leadership Awards, in recognition of their status as Living Wage employers. While Yorkshire Coast Homes and Katy Moss of Trent Refractories Ltd were singled out for special praise, receiving the Living Wage Champion Awards for the Yorkshire Region.

Alongside the awards, businesses from across Yorkshire discussed the importance of paying the Living Wage, the challenges of increasing support for low paid staff and the role of business in changing society. Speakers included:

  • Amy Hulme, Living Wage Foundation, 
  • Michael J. Millward, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
  • Shaun Rafferty, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Tom Chigbo, Leeds Citizens
  • Gerry Andrews, Path Yorkshire

Graham Brownlee, Leeds Citizens Co-Chair said:

"Leeds Citizens is calling on all businesses in our city to get accredited as Living Wage employers. The Living Wage is the right thing to do and it makes business sense. Consumers are increasingly recognising the Living Wage employer mark, with 70% of people reporting that they would choose to shop in a Living Wage accredited retail chain and 80% of employers reporting that paying the Living Wage improves the quality of work.

Leeds Citizens member communities see the terrible effects of working poverty every day. While we celebrate the great leadership shown by Living Wage employers in our region, research shows that 26% of workers in Yorkshire are still paid poverty wages. We urge businesses, large and small, to join the growing movement of Living Wage employers so that work can be the surest way out of poverty"

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: 

"More and more businesses are paying a Living Wage across Yorkshire and beyond, they are tackling low pay and stepping towards paying a Living Wage. For those businesses that can - they should do it!  Let us make the paying of the Living Wage the litmus test for a fair recovery. It is for us in our time to fell the giant of income inequality.'




Media enquiries to: Gillian Owen, Head of Media, Citizens UK

Mobile: 07876246150


About the Living Wage Foundation

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis. The Living Wage enjoys cross party support.

The London Living Wage is currently £9.15 per hour. This figure is set annually by the Greater London Authority and covers all boroughs in Greater London. The UK Living Wage for outside of London is currently £8.25 per hour. This figure is set annually by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University.

The Living Wage Foundation recognises and celebrates the leadership shown by Living Wage employers across the UK. We believe that work should be the surest way out of poverty.

We are an initiative of Citizens UK. We receive guidance and advice from the Living Wage Advisory Council. The Foundation is supported by ten principal partners: Aviva; Joseph Rowntree Foundation; KPMG; Linklaters; Nationwide; Nestle; Resolution Foundation; Save the Children; Trust for London; and Queen Mary University of London.


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