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Islington is first council to become a Living Wage Friendly Funder

Islington has become the first council in the country to be officially recognised for ensuring that the charities and voluntary organisations it funds through its core grants programme all pay the Living Wage to their employees.

The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK, with a higher rate in London.

The council – which, in 2012, became the joint-first local authority to be accredited as a Living Wage employer – is now the first to be awarded ‘Friendly Funder’ status by the Living Wage Foundation and Citizens UK.

Living Wage Friendly Funders support community and voluntary sector organisations to pay the Living Wage through their grant-making.

Each year, Islington provides some 43 charities and voluntary organisations with £3.2 million in ‘core grants’ on the condition that they pay all their employees the Living Wage or more.

The north London local authority also encourages all grant-funded not-for-profit organisations to become accredited as Living Wage employers and promote the Living Wage in their sector.

Islington Council’s executive member for finance and performance, Cllr Andy Hull, said:

“We’re delighted to become a Living Wage Friendly Funder. It is testament to our commitment to making the borough a fairer place to live and work and our leadership in convincing other local employers follow suit.

“In Islington, we believe that no-one should have to do a hard day’s work – whether for the council, a local business, football club, or charity – for less than they can live on.

“But we cannot achieve this vision alone. While we have made great progress in recent years, we need every employer in Islington to come on board and do the right thing.”

Sarah Vero, Acting Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: "We are delighted to recognise the London Borough of Islington as a Living Wage Friendly Funder; leading the way on the Living Wage once again.

"We are very excited to see the new scheme grow. Low pay in the third sector is a real problem and we want to make sure that all the benefits of paying the Living Wage are felt by voluntary and community organisations, their staff and families.

"At a time when half of those in poverty live in a household where someone has a job, the Living Wage is much needed by families across the UK. The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay."

The council first launched its Living Wage campaign in 2011, following a recommendation from its groundbreaking Fairness Commission.

All directly employed council staff and 98% of its contracted staff are now paid at least the London Living Wage, including 519 homecare workers.

In October 2014, Islington Council announced plans for its first Living Wage care home, St Anne’s.

Following efforts from the council and local charities and businesses over the past year, the number of accredited Living Wage employers in the borough has doubled to over 90.

Local employers interested in becoming a living wage employer can find out more by clicking here.

L-R Islington Council's Deputy Leader Cllr Janet Burgess and Leader Cllr Richard Watts.jpg

L-R Islington Council's Deputy Leader Cllr Janet Burgess and Leader Cllr Richard Watts

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