Most councils not paying 'London living wage'

Only five out of 32 councils are paying the so-called "London living wage" for sub-contracted workers, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request shows.

Ealing, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, Islington and Southwark councils have a living wage policy.

This comes as Mayor Boris Johnson raised the recommended minimum hourly wage to £8.30 on Monday, a rise of 45p.

The Green Party in London Assembly, which made the FOI request, said London councils were "paying poverty wages".

'Claims about fairness'

A report by the Greater London Authority found that an hourly rate 22% above the £5.93 national minimum wage was needed in London just to be above the poverty threshold.

Around 10% of full-time workers and 41% of part-time workers in the capital currently do not meet that pay level.

Darren Johnson, a London Assembly Green Party member, said the mayor needed to do more to get councils to pay workers London living wage.

"It is disgraceful that councils can make claims about fairness while they run their own services by paying poverty wages."

The Green Party said it did not know how many workers sub-contracted by the councils are paid less than the poverty threshold.

The London living wage was introduced in 2005 and more than 100 London-based employers have signed up to it.

A spokesman for London Councils, which represents the 32 London boroughs, said paying the living wage to all sub-contractors was complex.

"In most cases, boroughs have to wait until contracts are up for tender or renegotiation before encouraging contractors to implement it," he said.

"Complicating matters is the fact that local authorities have a duty to deliver best value through public sector contracts which can be difficult to reconcile with implementing the London living wage."

The mayor said paying the London Living Wage helps to boost the capital's economy.

"It really is a win-win for employers as paying a fair wage fosters a loyal and motivated workforce, while at the same time continues to help pull many Londoners out of poverty," he said.

The Green Party said Croydon, Enfield, Lambeth, Harrow and Hounslow had not responded to their FOI request.

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