MEADOWS CAMBRIDGE, a local delicatessen in Cambridge, has become accredited with the Living Wage Foundation and has committed to pay its own staff and contracted staff a minimum of £9.50 per hour. The delicatessen specialises in healthy food which supports regenerative farming and other independent local businesses.
Cambridge City Council, which itself is accredited with the Living Wage Foundation, has been leading work to promote the real Living Wage for several years.
There are now 49 accredited employers that are independent employers based in and/or operating in Cambridge, or that have head offices in the city. There are many more national employers accredited that have local branches in Cambridge.
Suzannah Wansell, the owner of Meadows Cambridge, found out about the real Living Wage when she worked with Cambridge Sustainable Food which had in turn campaigned with the council for the real Living Wage.
The real Living Wage, which Meadows Cambridge has signed up to, is a minimum £9.50 per hour and is calculated independently every year to reflect the real cost of living in the UK. This is higher than the national living wage for 25-year-olds which is currently set at a rate of £8.72 per hour.
Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “Congratulations and a huge thank you to Meadows Cambridge for their accreditation and strong commitment to the real Living Wage. Cambridge City Council continues to campaign for the real Living Wage and provide advice to businesses on this throughout the pandemic.
“Paying the real Living Wage has never been more important. People on low incomes have been struggling significantly, including many of our key workers who we have been reliant on to keep the city running. For instance, in 2020 Cambridge City Foodbank supported over
4,600 adults and over 2,600 children, an increase of over 16% on 2019. During the pandemic eight free Community Food Hubs around the city were set up to meet need. They have sent out over eight tonnes of emergency food each month.
“We also recognise that the pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for many businesses, and many are struggling to get by. We have been helping to support businesses that have been struggling financially during the pandemic by distributing government-funded support grants and other measures the council itself has put in place.”
Suzannah Wansell, Owner of Meadows Cambridge said: “Meadows works to have a positive impact on our planet and people living on it. We want to be sure that people connected to our business, especially our employees, have a secure future.
“I first became aware of the Living Wage Foundation before Meadows even had any employees, so paying the real Living Wage was always a part of my business plan.
“In a prosperous city like Cambridge, it could be assumed that everybody prospers,and low wages are not an issue, but that is simply not true. We can use our accreditation to lend our voice to raising awareness of the issue of low wages.
“I would urge other local businesses to consider the real Living Wage and, if they are already paying it, to gain accreditation. Our team at Meadows are really proud of our accreditation and I am very proud to have a business that pays the real Living Wage.”
Any employer interested in becoming accredited as a real Living Wage employer should contact Helen Crowther, the council’s Equality and Anti-Poverty Officer, on 01223 457046.
If your business has been struggling financially as a result of the pandemic help may be available. Visit https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/coronavirus-information-for-businesses for further information on support available and to apply for grants or email firstname.lastname@example.org