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London Living Wage 'a disgrace'

22 May 09 14:06 GMT

A London Assembly member has criticised the London Living Wage as it emerged only 29 businesses have implemented the scheme since its launch in 2005.

London Assembly Green Party member Darren Johnson said more local authorities needed to safeguard Londoners from "poverty wages".

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced the Living Wage is to increase by 15p to £7.60 an hour.

The scheme recommends the minimum wage employees should be paid in London.

The increase will apply to Greater London Authority (GLA) employees and to contracts for staff to work at GLA sites, including caterers and cleaners.

'Tackling poverty'

The 2% increase will take the London Living Wage to nearly £2 above the national minimum wage.

Darren Johnson criticised the scheme as he claimed only four London boroughs were using the Living Wage requirement when looking for new contracts.

He said: "If all Londoners are to get a fair pay deal, then we need to start by getting our local governments to implement the Living Wage to all their workers and contractors.

"It is a disgrace that only a few London councils have policies that safeguard their whole workforce from poverty wages."

Mr Johnson said the London Living Wage "brings wider social benefits, tackling poverty, making work pay, and improving the quality of life for families".

He also urged all London businesses to "invest for the future" by paying the increased wage.

The national minimum wage is £5.73 an hour but is due to increase to £5.80 in October.

Responding to the Living Wage increase, Megan Dobney, from the Trades Union Congress (TUC), said: "The TUC very much welcomes this increase that goes some way to reflect the reality for many thousands of London's low-paid workers."

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