Sunday, 14 April 2024
Sunday, 14 April 2024

More workers are skipping meals and using food banks than ever before

LIVERPOOL City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram visited a major Liverpool charity as they committed to continue providing staff with a real Living Wage.

Local Solutions was launched in 1974 to generate and deliver services to support individuals, families and communities with a prime focus on those people experiencing disadvantage, exclusion and vulnerability across the LCR and North Wales.

The charity has been recognised as a real Living Wage employer, once again committing to increase the minimum rate of pay across the organisation to £10.40 per hour, which will rise again to £10.90 in April 2023 in line with recommendations from the Living Wage Foundation (LWF).

Their commitment comes in response to the spiralling cost-of-living crisis which is seeing more workers ‘skipping meals, using foodbanks and facing an awful ‘heat or eat’ choice’ according to Local Solutions chief executive Tom Harrison and LWF director Katherine Chapman.

Tom said:

“Steve has been pushing really hard for this and pushing for fair employment across the board so it was great to celebrate our commitment alongside him. People really need support right now. 

“There are 4.8m workers paid less than the real Living Wage. Research published by the Living Wage Foundation found that over the past six months more workers are skipping meals and using food banks than ever before.

“Being a real Living Wage employer is part of our continued commitment to improve minimum pay and conditions, and to recognise the exceptional dedication shown throughout these testing times.

“We hope other organisations will follow our lead and make a positive change if they are able.”

In addition to increases in pay, Local Solutions is going above and beyond to support their staff with a range of measures to help ease the pinch, providing extra support to their employees with the provision of winter-specific uniforms, enhanced mileage payments and free mobile phones with unlimited data helping people stay connected as they work from home or help support service users out in the community.

To recognise this, LCR Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram visited Local Solutions HQ in Wavertree to meet with Tom and Katherine in celebration of Living Wage Week.

Unlike the Government minimum wage (‘National Living Wage’ for over 23s – £9.50) the real Living Wage is the only wage rate independently calculated based on rising living costs. A full-time worker earning the new, real Living Wage would earn £2,730 a year more than a worker earning the current government minimum (NLW), and £1,950 more than their current pay.

Katherine said:

“With living costs rising so rapidly, millions are facing an awful “heat or eat” choice this winter- that’s why a real Living Wage is more vital than ever. We know that the Living Wage is good for employers as well as workers, that’s why the real Living Wage must continue to be at the heart of solutions to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.”

The cost of living has been increasing across the UK since early 2021 with the annual rate of inflation reaching double figures in September 2022, close to a 40-year high.

The real Living Wage remains the only wage rate independently calculated based on what people need to live on. This year the rate increased by 10.1% in the UK, more than ever in the Living Wage Foundation’s 11-year history reflecting sharp increases in living costs.

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