London

More firms to pay 'London Living Wage' of £7.85 an hour

More than 2,500 workers will be better off as 17 more firms in the capital have signed up to pay their staff the so-called London Living Wage.

The pledge by 12 private companies, three educational institutes and two charities means their workers will earn a minimum hourly rate of £7.85.

Mayor Boris Johnson said the "fair and decent wage" would make the capital "diverse, inclusive and prosperous".

A total of 115 firms now pay workers more than the national rate of £5.95.

Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and L'Oreal are among the latest firms to sign up to the scheme.

'Critical mass'

Announcing the new subscribers, Mr Johnson said if all the firms in the city pledged to pay the higher hourly rate it could help 25% of London's 630,000 children who are living in poverty.

He said: "There is an army of workers - from cleaners to care workers - who keep this city functioning, and it is only right that their skills and hard work are rewarded with a wage that will help keep them out of poverty and ensure they are better off in work than out of work."

Kaneez Shaid, community leader with campaign group London Citizens, said: "A decade after London Citizens launched the Living Wage campaign, we are now reaching critical mass in financial services and the higher education sectors."

In September, University College London pledged to pay the London Living Wage to all staff - including cleaners working for contract companies - following protests by academics, students and community groups.

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