The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu together with Julia Unwin CBE Chief Executive of Joseph Rowntree Foundation/Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust have launched the UK Living Wage.
The UK Living Wage is calculated by the Centre of Research in Social Policy and is based on work on Minimum Income Standards, carried out over four years by the JRF.
On 5th November 2012, JRF announced the rate for the UK outside of London as £7.45. On the same day, Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, announced the new rate for London as £8.55.
The Living Wage rate is designed so that recipients have a basic quality of life for themselves and their families.
The Archbishop said: “I recently sponsored a Fairness Commission in York and one of the Commission’s key recommendations was to call for a Living Wage to be introduced across the city. Introducing a Living Wage recognises that people should be paid a fair wage for a fair day’s work. We need to value each and every person, rather than cutting adrift those unfortunate enough to find themselves at the bottom.
“Paying a decent wage for our workers is a sign that as a nation – publicly, privately, corporately and individually – we recognise the unique contribution of others to the common good.”
Archbishop Sentamu noted that one out of five workers in the UK are not paid a Living Wage. “That is an absolute scandal – given the wealth of our nation,” he said.
He warned that the UK will not be made stronger by impoverishing others. “Whether that is by offering unpaid internships and work experience to young people – or by freezing Minimum Wage levels for the poorest – the end result is that our society, our communities and our nation become sicker and less cohesive as a result,” Archbishop Sentamu said.
He described the youth unemployment and pay inequality as the “new social evils that we need to stand together to tackle.”
“The fact that poverty pay is allowed to exist in the 21st century is a national disgrace. These two insidious giants must be slain,” Archbishop Sentamu added.
The Archbishop of York said one can judge how healthy a society is by observing how it treats the most vulnerable people. “Research has conclusively shown that a more equal society is a happier society. If we want to see our country prosper and flourish we must reduce its income inequality. It is our duty and our responsibility,” Archbishop Sentamu said.
JRF and JRHT is committed to paying a living wage to staff working in its care homes. It is the first care provider to make this pledge. Nearly 100 companies are accredited payers of the Living Wage to their employees and contract staff.