Living wage gets a lift

More than 30,000 Britons on low incomes are set to get a pay rise of up to 400 a year after an increase in the living wage. The voluntary minimum pay rate, set to cover the basic cost of living, has gone up by 20p to 7.65 ($14.69) an hour.

In London, where living expenses are higher, the rate is up 25p to 8.80. The living wage is significantly higher than the legal minimum wage of 6.31 an hour for adults over 21.

The new London rate was announced this week at Great Ormond Street Hospital, which has signed up to the living wage scheme.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said paying a living wage was in keeping with being a believer in capitalism and Thatcherite ideals as well as those of social justice.

Some 432 employers belong to the scheme, up from 78 a year ago, including major household names such as Barclays, Oxfam, Legal and General, the National Portrait Gallery and KPMG. Numerous smaller businesses, town halls and charities have pledged to pay the living wage.

The idea got further traction this week when Labour Party leader Ed Miliband announced that Labour would give tax rebates to companies paying a living wage.

- Independent

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