Council calls on Oxford employers to pay the Living Wage

Published: Thursday, 9th November 2017

Oxford City Council welcomes the fact that more than 40 Oxford employers are now accredited Living Wage employers, and calls on other employers to pay the Living Wage and get accredited.

The Living Wage is a minimum hourly pay rate which is calculated for the Living Wage Foundation and updated every year. On Monday, the Living Wage Foundation announced an increase from £8.45 to £8.75, to take effect from April 2018.

Oxford is the least affordable city for housing in the UK. House prices in the city are more than 16 times average earnings, and a private tenant on average earnings pays 56% of their income on rent. 30% of the city’s population lives in private rented housing.

The council believes that the high cost of living in Oxford means the Living Wage is essential to help employees live with dignity.

The Living Wage Foundation says that paying the Living Wage is also good for business:

  • 93% of accredited employers say the Living Wage has benefited the business
  • 86% of accredited employers say the Living Wage has improved their reputation
  • 75% of accredited employers say the Living Wage has increased motivation and employee retention
  • 64% of accredited employers say the Living Wage has helped them to stand out in their industry.

Councillor Mark Ladbrooke, Chair of Oxford City Council’s Living Wage Review, said: “We welcome the fact that more than 40 Oxford businesses are now accredited by the Living Wage Foundation as Living Wage employers, and we warmly congratulate them all. We would call on more employers to join them, to pay their staff the Living Wage, and get accredited.

“It’s often said that Oxford has London prices with Midlands wages – and in the case of housing we are more unaffordable than London. Paying the Living Wage would help Oxford residents to bear the real cost of living, and evidence from Living Wage employers shows that the Living Wage is also good for business.”  

Becky Hallsmith, Owner, The Ultimate Picture Palace, said: “I have always paid the Ultimate Picture Palace staff salaries based on the real Living Wage. Without my wonderfully enthusiastic and hard-working team there would be no business - and although we operate on extremely tight margins, I feel strongly that it would be immoral not to ensure that the business plan allows for them to be paid a fair wage for the hard work that they do.”

Nikki Loveless, People Manager at Majestic Wine, said: “We believe our people are great, and great people deserve great pay which is why we are proud to be an accredited Living Wage Foundation employer. We pay all our staff at least the Living Wage and reward our people fairly for all their hard. We recognise the happier our staff are, the happier they can make our customers; it's a real win-win for everyone.”

Kim Coles, Financial Director at Lush UK, said: “Having an independently calculated real Living Wage rate means that we can be confident that all of our lovely staff receive a fair wage for their hard work. We hope that other businesses can be encouraged to look at their business models and strive to join us.”