Council announces new Oxford Living Wage and updated procurement strategy for Living Wage Week

Published: Monday, 9th November 2020

This Living Wage Week, Oxford City Council is announcing the new annual level of the Oxford Living Wage.

The Council is also unveiling a new procurement strategy to encourage contracting with businesses supporting living wage standards.

The Oxford Living Wage is an hourly rate minimum pay that promotes liveable earnings for all workers and recognises the high cost of living in Oxford.

With the start of Living Wage Week, the Council can announce that the new Oxford Living Wage rate will be £10.31 an hour, which will apply from April 2021.

The rate of pay is set annually and linked to the Living Wage Foundation’s Real Living Wage. The Living Wage Foundation sets two rates, one for London and one for the rest of the country. Oxford City Council has set the rate at 95% of the London Living Wage as Oxford is one of the most expensive cities in the country.

New Oxford City Council procurement policy

The Oxford Living Wage is seen as a key factor in the long-term economic success for Oxford and its communities, and the creation of well paid jobs is vital as we rebuild from the pandemic. However, the Council recognises that due to the economic impact and uncertainty of the pandemic, many businesses may not be in a position to sign up to the Oxford Living Wage at present.

As the Council looks beyond the pandemic, and towards long-term economic recovery, we are exploring how we can update our procurement procedures to help address the challenges and deliver an inclusive local economy.

Historically, the Council spends circa £91M per annum on procuring goods, services and works excluding Capital, £128M including Capital. Within its new contract rules, the Council will have a greater weighting towards suppliers that pay their employees the Oxford Living Wage (where work is undertaken within Oxford) or the Living Wage Foundation Rate. This commitment will include any employees commissioned as sub-contractors.

One Oxford Living Wage employer which has provided support to residents during the coronavirus pandemic is Good Food Oxford, who have worked to create a map and database of services providing free or subsidised food within Oxford. A full list of Oxford Living Wage employers can be found on the Council website.

The new rules are part of the Council’s wider procurement strategy which came in to effect from September 2020 and was approved by the Council’s cabinet on 9th September 2020.

Find out more about being an Oxford Living Wage employer

This week, the Council is holding an event on Thursday 12 November from 10am-12pm for Oxford employers to find out about the benefits of becoming an Oxford Living Wage employer, as well as hearing from employees who have benefitted from the scheme.

There are businesses in Oxford who will already qualify as Oxford Living Wage employers, and the Council is encouraging them to get in touch and to get recognition by applying for Oxford Living Wage accreditation.

Research shows that accreditation helps employers get recognition from staff, candidates and customers as a valued employer, improving productivity, recruitment and retention of good staff. 70% of employers think that the Living Wage has increased consumer awareness of their commitment to be an ethical employer.

“This year has been incredibly challenging for many businesses. Oxford remains one of the UK’s most expensive cities, and those employers who pay the Oxford Living Wage are helping strengthen our local economy.

“Whether you are a large or small employer, we want those who are able to do so, to pay the Oxford Living Wage, to get recognition for it and to build the momentum for more living wage jobs as Oxford builds back out of this crisis. Oxford City Council is committed to the long-term recovery and strengthening of Oxford’s economy, and the Oxford Living Wage will be part of that future.”
Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council

Information about the Living Wage Foundation and the UK-wide living wage initiative can be found on the Living Wage website.