Brent Council becomes the country’s first local authority to offer incentives to businesses paying the living wage

Cllr Roxanne Mashari

Cllr Roxanne Mashari - Credit: Archant

Brent Council has become the first in the country to approve new business rates incentives to pay the living wage.

Firms in the borough will be offered discounts of up to £5,000 off their business rates if they become living wage accredited employers from April 1.

Representatives from existing 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 at a special meeting yesterday.

While it is estimated that 30 per cent of Brent residents earn less than the living wage, low paid workers could see a pay rise of £2.50 an hour if local businesses take up the offer.

Cllr Roxanne Mashari, Brent Council’s cabinet member for employment and skills, said: “We are committed to championing the living wage and tackling the root causes of poverty in our borough.

“We know that paying the living wage makes good business sense as it incentivises staff and helps to recruit and retain the best people, whilst reducing absenteeism.”

Businesses will be offered a one-off discount on their business rate equivalent to five times the cost of being accredited as a Living Wage Employer by the Living Wage Foundation with discounts up to £5,000 depending on the size of the workforce.

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Rhys Moore, director of Living Wage Foundation, said: “Brent Council is showing great leadership on the Living Wage. Local government has an important role in supporting businesses to do the right thing and help low paid employees out of in-work poverty.”

The cost of implementing the policy is being met by existing budgets.

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