- School/Institute/Department: School of Geography
- Subjects: Living Wage Campaign, Life Sciences
- Audience: General Public
The living wage aims to have an impact on high rates of ‘in-work poverty’ that affects millions of households in the UK (MacInnes et al, 2010) by introducing a higher minimum pay threshold based on the amount an individual needs to earn to cover the basic costs of living.
As a principal partner of the Living Wage Foundation, a Citizens UK initiative, Queen Mary have provided backing and research from the School of Geography to support the campaign for employers to adopt the living wage.
This research from the School of Geography, led by Professor Jane Wills, has explored social issues behind the need for a living wage, including its relation to education, health and quality of life. It has also mapped the extent of low pay throughout the campaign and helped to identify its targets. The research has also supported the business case for take up, showing that significant benefits can result from offering the living wage including reduced labour turnover and better service standards.
This work has underpinned much of the Living Wage Foundation’s work and added an academic voice to the arguments for adoption. These campaigns have successfully resulted in a number of breakthroughs, including support from the major political parties, leading to adoption by over 560 ‘Living Wage Employers’, including major firms such as KPMG, Aviva, Barclays and HSBC. The initiative has won over £210 million of additional wages, lifting over 40,000 families out of working poverty.
In 2013, Citizens UK held a unique summit of national leaders from Britain's major civil society institutions, including faith and educational leaders at Queen Mary, University of London. The film can be found below.
Professor Jane Wills' website gives more information on the Queen Mary research that supports and evidences the benefits and effects of the living wage. You can find out more about the Living Wage Foundation here.
Queen Mary is a living wage employer.