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Living Wage Week - Council celebrates businesses which have helped tackle poverty during coronavirus

News release from 09/11/2020

CAMBRIDGE City Council is using Living Wage Week (9-15 November) as an opportunity to thank businesses in Cambridge helping tackle issues related to poverty which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.  

Tomorrow, on 10 November, an online event is being held to provide examples of initiatives tackling poverty in the city, which businesses can and have been supporting. These range from becoming accredited with the Living Wage Foundation, supporting the Digital Partnership to tackle digital exclusion of families, to donating to the Cambridgeshire Coronavirus Community Fund.  

Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “Coronavirus has presented unprecedented challenges for businesses and individuals. In this context, it has been fantastic to see that many of our city’s employers that sought accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation have continued their accreditation and commitment to paying the real Living Wage throughout the pandemic to reflect real living costs.  

“It’s never been more important to make sure that the lowest paid are supported and I urge employers to sign up for accreditation. Many of our key workers who have been essential in keeping the city running, are receiving less than the real Living Wage. And we know there is a strong link between poverty and the likelihood of contracting and dying from coronavirus.   

“So many of our local businesses have done so much during the pandemic to support our community. This is a chance to celebrate businesses for what they’ve done to support the voluntary and community sector tackling issues like food poverty, digital exclusion, and isolation.  

“Businesses have been donating old IT equipment to help Cambridgeshire Youth Panel to get families online – families who were struggling to continue learning offline and stay connected when schools were closed. And of course, so many businesses have been helping to fight hunger through providing food donations and giving their time and skills too to cook meals for food hubs. I want to thank every single one of them.” 

Living Wage Week is a national campaign coordinated by the Living Wage Foundation that Cambridge City Council marks each year. The week celebrates Living Wage employers, aims to increase numbers of accreditations to the Foundation, and new rates of the real Living Wage are announced for the year ahead.  

The real Living Wage is the only wage independently calculated to reflect living costs, and new rates announced today are £9.50 per hour for the UK and £10.85 per hour for London. The previous rates were £9.30 for the UK and £10.75 for London. 

Over the last three years, Cambridge City Council has held events during Living Wage Week with presentations from the Living Wage Foundation and other organisations on ways businesses can tackle poverty. Businesses have been provided with ideas on how to tackle poverty through their own employment practices and through supporting the local voluntary and community sector: for instance, in sharing skills and providing staff time to volunteer.   

For more information about the real Living Wage, including a full list of Living Wage employers based in Cambridge, visit www.cambridge.gov.uk/living-wage or www.livingwage.org.uk