29 January 2015
Brent Council agreed this week to become the first local authority in the country to approve new business rate incentives to pay the Living Wage.
Businesses in the north-west London borough are to be the first in the country to be offered business rates discounts as an incentive to pay the Living Wage in a "groundbreaking policy" that aims to boost living standards for low-paid workers.
Companies in the London borough will be offered discounts of up to £5,000 on their business rates - if they become Living Wage-accredited employers - from April 1, 2015.
This week, representatives from current London Living Wage employers in the borough - including medical communications agency Synergy Vision, which is about to become the first accredited small business in the borough - were joined by Brent councillors and representatives from the Living Wage Foundation and Citizens UK to celebrate the decision in Willesden Green.
Some of the capital's lowest-paid workers could now get pay rises of around £2.50 an hour if local business takes up the council's offer.
The Living Wage was increased last November as the outrage around unjust pay in the facilities management industry was growing. One of the recommendations made in Invisible Workforce, a report published last summer by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, was for more employers to implement the Living Wage to improve conditions for workers.
Research released at the end of last year by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) suggested that what Brent is doing is a way for employers to take up the Living Wage pledge. It noted that pushing forward with plans to encourage businesses to pay this rate is "a key role of local government in the low-pay agenda".