Brent Council urges businesses and schools in the borough to pay the London Living Wage

Students Samibab Abdilaahi, Samir Hussain and Hammad Ahmed with Academy Principal Delia Smith, Paul

Students Samibab Abdilaahi, Samir Hussain and Hammad Ahmed with Academy Principal Delia Smith, Paul Amuzie and Cllr Muhammed Butt. - Credit: Archant

Brent Council has called businesses and schools in the borough to pay their staff the London Living Wage (LLW).

The move came as Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, was thanked by students at Wembley’s Ark Academy for fulfilling a promise to become a LLW employer.

Cllr Butt met students at the academy to mark the council winning accreditation from the London Living Wage Foundation.

Around 124 directly employed council staff and contracted workers will benefit from pay rises of up £240 a year after their wages were increased to the LLW of £8.80 an hour, compared to the national minimum wage of £6.31 an hour.

The LLW is an hourly wage rate set independently, calculated according to cost of living and aiming to give the pay required for a worker to provide their family with the essentials of life.

The Ark students are members of Brent Citizens, the local arm of London Citizens, which set up the London Living Wage Foundation.

The council has also written to local firms urging them to adopt the LLW and is exploring ways of incentivising them to do it.

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Cllr Butt said: “Many local people find it a real struggle to make ends meet on the kind of low wages which are so common in Brent. They are trapped in poverty, wondering how they are going meet the bills and feed their families.

“This council is determined to do all we can to help those on the lowest incomes because we are on the side of local people in these tough times.

“Because so many staff live locally, Brent has an important role to play. The LLW also makes excellent business sense as it enhances productivity and reduces recruitment costs.

“I am calling for more local firms and organisations to adopt the LLW and I applaud the Ark Academy for supporting it.”

Around 30 per cent of residents are thought to be paid less than the LLW and the borough has one of the lowest average household incomes in London.

Year 10 student Samir Hussain is one of the Ark students who thanked Cllr Butt.

He said: “We want to thank and accredit Cllr Butt and Brent Council for becoming a Living Wage council.

“Many of the students are from Brent and their parents work in the borough as well, so we understand the huge impact this could have if more employers took this step forward

“We are pleased and encouraged that the Leader of the council has stood by his word and delivered for the people of Brent.”

Paul Amuzie, Brent’s Community Organiser for London Citizens, said: “We are proud that Brent has taken heed of the calls of our leaders across the borough, who have been asking Cllr Butt to commit to the London Living Wage. We’ve worked hard to help get Brent Council to take this massive step forward.”