‘York needs own Living Wage’

05 October 2012

YORK DIOCESE

Tackling inequality: Dr Sentamu (right) with other members of the York Fairness Commission         

Tackling inequality: Dr Sentamu (right) with other members of the York Fairness Commission         

EMPLOYERS in York should pay the so-called Living Wage to tackle poverty and unfairness in the city, the York Fairness Commission has recommended.

The commission, established last year to "promote greater fairness and reduced inequality in York", published its final report on Thursday of last week. The Living Wage is the first of seven recommendations.

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, said: "We need to ensure that every effort is made to protect the poor and vulnerable at a time when national cuts make unenviable local decisions unavoidable. . . People should be paid a fair wage for a fair day's work - anything else is unjust."

The commission reports that York is one of the most equal cities in England, and has a relatively small gap between the groups of people on the highest and lowest incomes. Nevertheless, about 13,000 residents live in one of the most deprived 20 per cent of places in the country.

The Living Wage is set at £8.30 in London and £7.20 for the rest of the country (by Loughborough University's Centre for Research in Social Policy). It is above the National Minimum Wage of £6.08. The report recommended that the City of York Council become a "role model" for the policy, and influence its own providers to take it up while promoting it across the city.

The Living Wage Campaign was launched by London Citizens in 2001. It was described as "an idea whose time has come" by the present Prime Minister in 2010. More than 100 employers have been accredited, including KPMG, Barclays, the Olympic Delivery Authority, and the Greater London Authority.

Other recommendations from the York Fairness Commission for the City of York Council include delivering an "inclusive approach to economic development", which tackles worklessness, and addressing housing problems by releasing land owned by the public sector and setting "stretching yet realistic targets" for affordable housing.

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