Living Wage Week looking to build on its successes

Steve Courtney and Peter Howey, of Brighton Pavilion Guest House
Steve Courtney and Peter Howey, of Brighton Pavilion Guest House

The campaign to encourage employers to pay a living wage is being celebrated.

The campaign to encourage local employers to pay their staff a living wage is being celebrated with a week-long awareness drive.

The Living Wage Week 2014 gets underway on Monday (November 3) and runs until Saturday.

Updated living wage hourly rates will be released on Monday with the suggested total likely to increase from the current living wage rate of £7.65. The revised total is published each November, with firms given until April 1 to implement the new rate.

Locally the business-led campaign, which is supported by Brighton and Hove Independent, has been a success, with 152 employers across the city signing up to the campaign, resulting in more than 2,000 salaries being raised as a result.

There have been some notable businesses signing up ahead of Living Wage Week, including web designers and developers Madison Solutions, healthcare company Kare Plus, boutique BandB Brighton Pavilions Guest House, freeholders Kingsway Court Freeholders Ltd, Hilton Sharp and Clarke Chartered Accountants and the charity The FED - Centre for Independent Living.

Steve Courtney and Peter Howey, owners of Brighton Pavilions Guest House, said: “Paying a living wage to our employees at Brighton Pavilions is really important to us.

“We believe our staff will be happier, more productive and will deliver even better customer service to our guests. It’s simply the right thing to do.”

Launched in 2012, the Brighton and Hove Living Wage Campaign has been one of the most successful in the UK. The living wage rate is set independently and updated annually, with calculations made according to the basic cost of living in the UK. The final figure is the amount considered to allow a person to live a decent life, rather than just survive.

The scheme has received significant backing from local politicians.

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “I’m immensely proud of the many employers in Brighton and Hove who subscribe to the Living Wage Campaign.

“They show that, even when times are tough, it’s possible to pay fairly and tackle inequality while maintaining economic competitiveness.

“Those businesses reflect values that have become synonymous with our city - that fierce sense of fairness, of working for the common good: that’s Brighton and Hove.”

It was a sentiment share by Mike Weatherley, Conservative MP for Hove and Portslade. He said: “It is very hard not to support the aims of the Living Wage campaign.

Pointing out to employers that a certain level of wage is likely to lead to staff staying on and keeping the campaign voluntary should satisfy both employers and employees. I am delighted to add my support.”

And it is not just politicians backing the campaign. Alex Knutsen of UNISON, which has been working closely with the city’s chamber of commerce, has also been vocal in the union’s support.

They said: "Brighton and Hove UNISON is very pleased to be working with the chamber and optimistic that in the next 12 months we will be able to double the number of businesses in the city whose staff receive the living wage.

“We’d like to encourage another 20 businesses, charities, social enterprises or public sector organisations to sign up to the campaign during Living Wage Week.”

For more information, follow the campaign on Twitter @BHLivingWage or like it on Facebook to hear about events going on during Living Wage Week. Alternatively, visit: www.livingwagebrighton.co.uk or email: campaigns@ businessinbrighton.org.uk.