Steve Rotheram to declare city region a Living Wage zone

Labour hopeful wants businesses to ensure employees are properly rewarded across Liverpool City Region.

Metro Mayor candidate Steve Rotherham on Monday announced he will declare Merseyside and Halton a Living Wage zone if he’s elected Metro Mayor. 

The Labour hopeful wants companies across the Liverpool City Region to sign up to paying the Living Wage and will use his role to promote the policy, including making the Combined Authority itself, responsible for Merseytravel, a Living Wage employer. 

The Living Wage is set by the independent Living Wage Foundation and calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University. It is currently £8.25 an hour, compared to £7.20 for the government’s ‘National Living Wage’. 

Speaking about the announcement, Steve Rotheram said:

“This policy is another example where I want to go beyond the narrow confines of the ‘Devo deal’ to use soft power and leading by example to improve life for ordinary people.

“The Tories have craftily attempted to appropriate the language of the Living Wage but it is all smoke and mirrors because their ‘National Living Wage’ is over £1 lower than what the academics have established people actually need to liveUp to 1 in 4 families in our city region receive less than the Living Wage, a higher proportion than the national average. I want to attack poverty pay and families’ reliance on foodbanks in the city region, and one way we can tackle that is by showing leadership and setting expectations about what people should be paid. 

I know Sadiq Khan well and the Mayor’s office in London were instrumental in establishing the London Living Wage and I want to do the same here.”

Mr. Rotheram says employers across the City Region will be encouraged to become ‘Living Wage employers’, including using procurement policies, and those that agree to pay the new wage will also receive a kitemark endorsement from the Metro Mayor.  

He added:

“My office will publish and promote the list of official Living Wage employers across digital platforms and companies will be able to use a Mayoral Living Wage ‘kite-mark’, which offers employers additional good publicity and the opportunity to further demonstrate their commitment to staff.” 

The Metro Mayor candidate’s announcement about a Living Wage Zone sits alongside his Mayoral Jobs and Skills Pledge, with an expectation that employers benefiting from his business-friendly policies on skills, training, infrastructure and business support will first look towards job opportunities being offered to local people first. 

He commented:

“I want to ensure the Liverpool City Region is a great place for business, but equally I want to ensure local people see the benefits from jobs and decent pay.” 

The former Lord Mayor of Liverpool also says his policy platform is about tackling in-work poverty and making the city region a beacon of social justice. 

Speaking about the direct impact the Living Wage policy would have for the Combined Authority, Mr Rotheram says:

“Labour councillors on the Merseytravel committee have been working towards paying the Living Wage and I commend them for their fantastic work. I also acknowledge the work done by the trade union Unison. It will be an early priority for me to introduce this policy.”

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