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Cambridge City Council

Council marks the 20th anniversary of the national campaign for the Real Living Wage

15 November 2021

CAMBRIDGE City Council is holding two events for employers to mark the 20th anniversary of the national campaign for the Real Living Wage and the 10th anniversary of the Living Wage Foundation.  

The UK Real Living Wage rate is the only rate of pay independently calculated to reflect living costs. Organisations that pay this can become accredited with the Living Wage Foundation to demonstrate their commitment to fair pay.   

Today (15 November) the new rates for the Real Living Wage have been announced as £9.90 per hour UK rate, up from £9.50, and £11.05 per hour London rate, up from £10.85. 

The council is holding an online event on 16 November for businesses to learn more about how to tackle inequality and poverty in the city, including through accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation. There will also be presentations on how businesses can help to tackle homelessness and food poverty in Cambridge and promote race equality within their workplaces. 

On 18 November, the council is hosting an in-person event for employers that are already accredited with the Living Wage Foundation to thank them for their continued commitment to fair pay, and to encourage them to be part of an action group in the city to make Cambridge a Living Wage Place.

Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “We are delighted to mark the 20th anniversary of the Real Living Wage campaign that nationally has led to a pay-rise of £1.5 billion for employees of organisations accredited with the Foundation.  

“Since 2015, hundreds of people in Cambridge have received a pay rise after the council helped influence their employer to become accredited with the Foundation, and many more have been able to take up jobs with the confidence that they will be paid enough to live on. This is excellent progress but there is still much to be done. In-work poverty in the UK had hit a record high just before the pandemic, which has driven disadvantaged households even further into poverty. In Cambridge, there are 3,614 people in work who are receiving Universal Credit to top up low earnings. 

“I’m especially excited about the Foundation’s Living Wage Places initiative. This is where a group of accredited Living Wage employers form an action group led by a local council to create a plan to expand the Real Living Wage throughout their city. Whilst the local Cambridge campaign has been running for a few years now, we hope to work more closely with other accredited employers in the city that want to make a difference to move the campaign into an even higher gear.”  

The council has been campaigning for the Real Living Wage since 2015 – raising awareness of the Real Living Wage and supporting organisations to understand the benefits and practicalities of accrediting with the Foundation.  

There are now 54 organisations accredited which are Cambridge-based. Seven of these became accredited in 2021 including the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service, Blue Smile, Meadows Cambridge, Navarro Ltd, Outspoken Training LLP, and Rowan.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (based in Ely) also became accredited, while there are an additional 35 national accredited organisations with branches in the city.