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 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.