Brent Council to offer incentives to companies paying the London Living wage
PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 November 2014
Brent Council is set to become the first local authority in the UK to offer discounts to businesses that pay their workers the London Living Wage (LLW).
A discretionary relief to business rates could be given to companies in the borough who become accredited by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF).
Eligible businesses would be offered five times the cost of accreditation in discounts under the plans announced by the council today.
The cost of accreditation depends on the size on the firm, starting at £50 per year for those with fewer than 10 employees.
In addition, Brent Council aims to sweeten the deal by pledging to promote LWF certified companies on a dedicated page on its website.
In an exclusive interview with the Times, Cllr Roxanne Mashari, lead member for employment and skills, said: “It is important now more than ever that we support businesses to play their part in supporting low paid residents in the community.
“We are really putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to encouraging business to pay staff the London Living Wage.”
The scheme, funded by the council’s existing employment and enterprise budget, will be capped at £150,000 with the town hall setting a target of 50 LLW accredited business in the borough by 2017.
Endorsed by the LWF, it aims to ensure that employees who live and work in Brent enjoy a good quality of life.
The council argues that better pay for the low-paid workers would have huge benefits for businesses, including attracting more trained applicants, lower rates of absenteeism and greater productivity.
Cllr Mashari, who also represents the Welsh Harp ward, added: “We want to be one of those councils that other local authorities look towards and say ‘Brent has pioneered this; look at the Brent model’.”
The proposals will be heard in cabinet in January 2015.
If approved, it will come into force at the start of the new financial year in April, and reviewed annually.
On Monday, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, announced an increase to the LLW from £8.80 to £9.15 per hour to mark the start of Living Wage Week.