Catherine McGuinness: Importance of earning a living wage

catherine mcguinness

Over the past two weeks you will have seen billboards across London Underground urging firms to pay all their staff at least the London Living Wage of £10.55 an hour.

This is all part of a campaign we’ve launched to help City workers that aren’t earning a decent wage they can comfortably live on in the Capital.

We’re trying to reach City businesses and workers to spread this message across the Square Mile about the importance of paying staff at least the London Living Wage.

We all know that living in London isn’t cheap, and I’m certain our 7,500 residents that live in the City know this particularly well.

Unfortunately, it’s not getting any cheaper. One in five people employed in our Capital don’t earn a wage they can live on.

Being paid the London Living Wage means people don’t have to worry about affording the basics, about paying the rent and having food in the fridge. It enables people to be able to support themselves and their families, giving them a dignified life.

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The Corporation is pushing more firms to pay the London Living wage

It means people can live more comfortably, allowing them to spend more quality time with family and friends by having a wage more supportive of the costs of City life. It reduces the chances of people spiralling into debt.

It even opens up the opportunity to save a little for an emergency or for a rainy day, something that’s a far stretch for someone on a wage lower than £10.55 per hour and living in the Square Mile.

Being paid a decent wage also helps with career prospects as it gives people a greater chance of fulfilling their potential within a single job, of accessing further education and training in their spare time, and consequently, the ability to achieve upward mobility.

The good news is that there are over 100 City businesses which are already London Living Wage accredited employers.

But, there is still a way to go, and firms can certainly do more to help those at the heart of the City; our people, our residents.

We believe that the City of London Corporation and City businesses have a responsibility to create a more fair, inclusive and sustainable society. We want to influence action and encourage change.

And we want to make London a fairer place to work and live for all our residents.

There is some fantastic work being done by companies to benefit the local community, but there is much more that can be done.

Paying the London Living Wage in our Capital changes lives in so many ways. In today’s modern society, life shouldn’t be consumed with money worries due to low pay – we need to change this.

Paying people that little bit more allows people to focus on what’s really important to them in their lives – be it family, career, hobbies. What matters most is different for everyone.

An additional £2.34 per hour might not sound like much, but for some having that little bit extra can be the difference between living comfortably and making ends meet.