Because more equal societies work better for everyone

Less Than a Third of UK’s Largest Companies Are Living Wage Accredited

Monday, 31 October, 2016

Less than a third of FTSE 100 companies are Living Wage accredited. The new Living Wage was announced today, rising to £8.45 in the UK, and £9.75 in London,[1] but only 29 of the UK’s largest companies are officially signed up to pay the Living Wage. 

Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, the average pay for a FTSE 100 CEO rose 10% last year to £5.5m, 341 times more than the new UK Living Wage, and 296 times the new London Living Wage[2].

Some 5.6 million people in the UK are paid less than the voluntary Living Wage, constituting 22 percent of all working people.[3] However not everyone is struggling. The richest 1,000 people saw their wealth increase by £28.5bn last year. That could:

  • pay for over 1,777,000 new Living Wage jobs for a year,
  • raise over 12 million jobs from the National Living Wage to the Living Wage.[4]

Dr Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director of The Equality Trust, said:

“The Living Wage has lifted the wages of thousands of people, providing greater stability and security to households and families throughout the UK. It’s clear however that while many companies have committed to paying their employees decent pay for a decent day’s work, many more are dragging their heels.

“Over two thirds of FTSE 100 companies are still not Living Wage accredited and we know that many extremely profitable companies are refusing to pay all of their employees a decent wage. It’s a national scandal when the bosses of these companies were awarded a pay rise of 10 per cent on average last year.

“The huge pay inequality we see in this country harms our society, but it also harms our economy. We know that more unequal societies have lower levels of trust, worse mental and physical health, and higher rates of violent crime. So for all the talk of community cohesion, we need to start with tackling economic inequality. Business is not isolated from communities, but draws its labour, skills, ideas and consumers from society. It’s about time more of our businesses recognised this and introduced fair and transparent pay practices.”

Notes to editors

The Equality Trust works to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing economic inequality. For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact John Hood on 07580 651 337 or john.hood@equalitytrust.org.uk

[1] http://www.livingwage.org.uk/news/new-real-living-wage-rates-announced-l...

[2] Calculation of these figures was based on Living Wage workers working a 37.5hr week, with zero pay for bank holidays

[3] https://home.kpmg.com/uk/en/home/media/press-releases/2016/10/more-than-...

[4] The Living wage is 17% higher than the National Living Wage, the government minimum for over 25s, which is £7.20 per hour. 

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