Poverty “is damaging family life, and robbing future generations of a secure and stable home”, say British faith leaders
Sixty-five religious leaders including senior figures from the Anglican, Catholic and Methodist Churches, Masorti, Reform and Liberal Jewish movements and the Muslim Council of Britain published a letter in the Sunday Times backing the real Living Wage and citing concern at low pay and in-work poverty “which is damaging family life, and robbing future generations of a secure and stable home.”
The letter organised by charity Citizens UK, the founders of the Living Wage campaign has been signed by 65 senior faith leaders. Signatories include 20 Catholic and Anglican Bishops including the RC Archbishop of Birmingham, 30 Rabbis from Liberal, Reform and Masorti Jewish movements, including Senior Rabbi’s Jonathan Wittenberg and Danny Rich, the President and Vice President of the Methodist Church and The Director General of the Muslim Council of Britain Harun Khan.
The letter comes as celebrations are planned with 4700 employers who are accredited by the Living Wage Foundation, which oversees the real Living Wage rate (currently £8.75) and the London Living Wage (currently £10.20) which are set to rise tomorrow in line with the real cost of Living. The new rates will be announced by the Living Wage Foundation in coordinated ceremonies in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Edinburgh and Cardiff tomorrow with hundreds of business, faith, political and charity leaders who are part of the real Living Wage movement.
New research, released by accountancy firm and Living Wage employer KPMG today, found that one in five workers is paid under a real Living Wage, meaning millions of workers are struggling to stay afloat financially as their wages don’t meet the real cost of Living.
Unlike the Government minimum wage rates, the real Living Wage is independently calculated by economic experts to meet the real cost of living, taking into account multiple factors like transport and housing costs and geographic differences between London and the rest of the UK. Employers who accredit with the Living Wage foundation pay at least the real Living Wage to all workers over 18, including third party contractors.
Roger Morris, The Bishop of Colchester, a letter signatory said:
“A real Living Wage is put simply, the best route of poverty for working families and all employers should look at paying it if they can. Our churches and community organisations can provide relief to those who reach crisis point, but a far better solution would be for everyone to join in the effort to end poverty and catch people before they fall in the river rather than waiting until they are in real financial trouble to help them out.”
The letter reads:
The harm caused by poverty in our country should be a source of national shame. There are now millions of people who work every day but are unable to afford even the basics. This is damaging family life, and robbing future generations of a secure and stable home.
Our different faiths provide a common teaching, that we cannot turn a blind eye to injustice, and that everyone deserves a chance to live in dignity and security. This is also true of our businesses. The jobs they provide allow many to derive purpose and meaning in their daily lives, but too many are paying their workers too little and leaving them struggling to stay afloat. This hurts everyone.
One solution is the Living Wage, which will rise tomorrow to meet the real cost of Living. Good businesses can do the right thing and tomorrow we join in celebration with the 4700 real Living Wage employers who pay staff a wage they can live on.
Archbishop Bernard Longley, RC Diocese of Birmingham
Rt Revd Rob Wickham, The Bishop of Edmonton
Rt Revd John Arnold, Catholic Diocese of Salford
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism
Qari Muhammad Asim MBE; Senior Imam Makkah Mosque, Leeds
Rabbi Danny Rich, Senior Rabbi and Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism
Revd Michaela Youngson, President of the Methodist Conference
Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, The Bishop of Croydon
Matt Plen, Chief Executive, Masorti Judaism
Harun Khan; Director General of The Muslim Council of Britain
Major Nick Coke, Salvation Army, Raynes Park Church