Lincoln council launches living wage campaign

The City of Lincoln Council has launched a new campaign encouraging employers in Lincoln to pay the living wage.

The project was unveiled at the Lincoln Against Poverty Conference held on Tuesday, February 25 at Alive Church.

The living wage, calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK, is currently £7.85 outside of London. It is different to the National Minimum Wage set by HMRC, which stands at £6.50.

A Lincoln Living Wage Forum, made up of partner organisations in the city, has been formed and the new campaign aims to show the benefits to both the employee and the employer.

Businesses that join the living wage campaign will be able to use a ‘Making Lincoln Living Wage’ accreditation logo.

The logo features three stars, one to show that they are a living wage employer, one to show they use living wage suppliers, and the other to show they employ staff responsibly.

Anyone wishing to find out more information on the scheme can do so by calling 01522 873325.

It is not a condition that organisations have to meet all three criteria to be involved.

City Councillor and Council Leader Ric Metcalfe. Photo: Stuart Wilde

City Councillor and Council Leader Ric Metcalfe. Photo: Stuart Wilde

Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln Council, announced the campaign and said that paying the living wage was ‘the right and sensible thing’ for employers to do.

Councillor Metcalfe said: “It’s immensely important that employers in Lincoln pay the living wage not only for the general good but also for the good of themselves.

“There is a solid business case to be made for decent wage levels because it will mean it’s easier for employers to recruit and retain staff for longer. Equally, all the evidence points to the fact that employers will have a smaller turnover of staff and their employees will take fewer sick days.

“The living wage also saves the public purse money as low pay is heavily subsidised by the state through the tax credit and benefit system at significant cost.

“On a wider economic level, we need to drive demand up so that people are far more able to spend what they earn. Low income groups will spend most if not all of their income in the local economy so that will have a beneficial effect to businesses in Lincoln as a direct result of employers paying better wages.”

Simon Walters, Assistant Director for Corporate Review and Development, added: “We can’t force employers to pay the living wage but what we can do is encourage them to do so and point out the economic benefits.

“There are moral benefits too – if you’ve got employees coming to work more worried about how they’re going to pay the bills and keep a roof over their head than having their mind on the job, then their commitment and dedication to their job is almost certainly not going to be what it could be.”