As we celebrate Living Wage Week 2014, we take a look back at how the Brighton & Hove Living Wage Campaign came about and what it has achieved so far.
The Brighton & Hove Living Wage Campaign aims to encourage local businesses to voluntarily pay all employees at least the living wage rate (apprentices and interns are exempt). This is the amount that is calculated to be what people need to live a decent life rather than just surviving.
Set independently and updated annually, the living wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. The new rate is announced every November during Living Wage Week and businesses are given until 1st April of the following year to implement the new rate which is currently £7.85 per hour.
The Living Wage Campaign was launched by London Citizens (now known as Citizens UK) in 2001 in response to the National Minimum Wage being considered too low for people to live on. Campaigners felt that wages should reflect the true cost of living in the UK.
The Brighton & Hove Living Wage Campaign was set up to raise awareness of the living wage and to encourage employers in Brighton & Hove to sign up to the campaign.
The Brighton & Hove Living Wage Campaign – a timeline of events
October 2011: Former Leader of the Council, Councillor Bill Randall forms Brighton & Hove Living Wage Commission, chaired by Julia Chanteray, the President of the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce. The Commission meets for six months, examining how paying the living wage could potentially affect local businesses and employees and how it might alleviate poverty in the city
The living wage hourly rate in UK currently stands at £7.20 per hour. The figure is revised annually to account for inflation. In comparison, the National Minimum Wage is £6.08 per hour
February 2012: Brighton Chamber holds a Big Debate to enable city’s businesses to voice their views and the living wage receives overwhelming business endorsement
April 2012: Living Wage Commission announces a business-led two-year campaign for a living wage will be spearheaded by the Brighton Chamber with the goal of making Brighton & Hove a great example of how the Living Wage can be a normal and accepted minimum level of payment for all employers
November 2012: The Brighton & Hove Living Wage Campaign begins, managed by the Brighton Chamber supported by Brighton & Hove City Council
November 2012: The first UK wide celebration of the living wage and Living Wage employers takes place 4th-10th November
The living wage hourly rate in UK is announced during Living Wage Week 2012 and is set at £7.45
January 2013: Living wage website launched http://livingwagebrighton.co.uk
June 2013: As of June 1st there are 65 businesses signed up
September 2013: The Argus runs online ballot asking “Is Brighton & Hove City Council right to recommend contractors pay their staff a living wage” – 74% of respondents replied “YES”
November 2013: Living Wage Week 2013 takes place 3rd – 9th November
The living wage hourly rate in UK is announced during Living Wage Week and is set at £7.65
Brighton Chamber celebrate the recruitment of over 100 local businesses supporting the Living Wage Campaign with an event in the offices of Mayo Wynne Baxter with guest speaker Caroline Lucas MP attending
April 2014: UNISON agree to support the campaign and it is extended for a third year
October 2014: Over 150 businesses, social enterprises and public sector organisations have signed up to the campaign
November 2014: Living Wage Week 2014 takes place 2nd – 8th November
The living wage hourly rate in UK is announced during Living Wage Week and is set at £7.85, a 20 pence increase
Brighton Chamber celebrates Living Wage Week with businesses continuing to sign up. 165 and counting…