In response to Matthew Laverack’s letter of June 25, headlined “Higher wages could hurt employers”, I must point out that the Living Wage Commission’s report does not in fact call for the living wage to be made compulsory.
The report acknowledges that a rise in staff costs would not be affordable for some firms, and is also clear in spelling out the risks of regulation. Instead, the Living Wage Commission, chaired by the Archbishop of York, is calling on leaders of the main political parties to adopt the goal of increasing voluntary take-up of the living wage.
The report sets out how it is possible to bring at least one million people out of low pay and up to a living wage with no adverse effects on the economy. Around 5.2 million people earn less than the living wage and the majority of people in poverty live in working households. The living wage stands at £7.65 an hour, with the London rate at £8.80 per hour. The national minimum wage is £6.31 an hour.
The emerging recovery means that thousands more businesses are now able to pay a living wage; more than 700 organisations do so.
The Rev Malcolm Macnaughton, Chief of Staff to the Archbishop of York, Bishopthorpe, York.