01 November 2016
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce have welcomed the launch of Living Wage Week – and the announcement new Living Wage rates.
Monday’s announcements marked the start of Living Wage Week and revealed that the UK Living Wage would increase from £8.25 to £8.45 per hour – 17 per cent higher than the Government’s National Living Wage rate of £7.20.
The Living Wage is calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission.
It is an optional investment for businesses and is independent of the Government’s National Living Wage.
There are currently around 3,000 accredited Living Wage organisations in the UK.
GBCC policy and patronage adviser Elliot Mason (pictured) said: “The Chambers have always supported the notion of fair pay for fair work and it is great to see that so many businesses are getting involved with the Living Wage.
“By committing to paying this wage, businesses can ensure that their employees are receiving a wage which reflects the rising cost of living but can also see tangible improvements in staff retention, productivity, and wellbeing. Paying the Living Wage can benefit both employers and employees.
“However, we also recognise that paying this higher wage is not always feasible for many employers, especially smaller ones, so it is positive that the Living Wage week is an optional investment.”
The Government is expected to announce new rates for its mandatory National Living Wage in November and the Chambers are urging caution when considering future increases.
A Chamber Workforce Survey published in September revealed that West Midlands businesses anticipate having to increase the prices of their products and services as a result of plans for the National Living Wage rate to reach £9 by 2020.
Almost 20 per cent of businesses also anticipate having to reduce recruitment.
Mr Mason added: “The Government is expected to announce the new rates for its mandatory National Living Wage in November and the GBCC urges caution.
“Given the economic uncertainty that the UK is currently experiencing, it is important that any future increases reflect the UK’s wider economic condition and take into account the headwinds which businesses are facing.”