Cardiff is First Major Urban Area in Uk to Become a ‘Living Wage City’
241,000, or 1 in 5 jobs in Wales still pay below the real Living Wage, which today rises to £9.30 an hour in Wales
– Cardiff becomes the first major urban area in the UK to be awarded ‘Living Wage City’ status as a result of an ambitious 3-year partnership between communities, employers and Cardiff Council to double the number of accredited Living Wage employers and lift thousands more workers out of in-work poverty
– First Minister Mark Drakeford will announce the new Living Wage for Wales of £9.30 per hour (up from £9, an increase of 30p per hour) at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay
– The Living Wage Foundation’s rate is independently calculated to reflect the increased cost of living and is £1.09p per hour more than the minimum wage (for over 25s)
– Nearly 6,000 UK businesses currently pay the voluntary real Living Wage rate; 222 of which are headquartered in Wales
– Since 2011, £32,187,495 in extra wages has gone into workers’ pockets in Wales, directly benefitting nearly 7,000 Welsh workers.
– A Living Wage worker in Wales now benefits from an average annual pay boost of nearly £2,000
Workers in Wales must earn £9.30 an hour in order to cover the cost of living, as the Living Wage Foundation today announces its new Living Wage rates.
A worker paid the £9.30 real Living Wage will get £2,000 in additional wages compared to the Government minimum of £8.21 an hour – equivalent to 9 months of a typical family’s food and drink bill.
The London and UK rates are increasing by 20p (1.9 per cent) and 30p (3.3 per cent) respectively, with the single biggest factor explaining why the UK wide rate has risen faster than the London rate being private rental costs (which increased more slowly in London). Childcare costs also rose at a faster rate UK wide compared to London. 
There are now more than 222 Wales based Living Wage Employers that have voluntarily gone beyond the Government to pay a real Living Wage, including Burns Pet Food, University of Wales Trinity St David, Cardiff Council and newly accredited major private sector employer Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water. Multiple branches of household names such as Majestic, Lush and Nationwide also pay the rate.
Dundee and Glenrothes pioneered the ‘Living Wage Places’ concept earlier this year, but Cardiff will be the first major urban area in the UK to gain the Living Wage City accolade thanks to its ambitious plan to bring many more employers up to the higher, voluntary, real Living Wage standard. The plan was put together by a steering group chaired by the Leader of Cardiff Council with senior representatives from civil society and local employers, and by 2022 it aims to increase the number of accredited Living Wage employers based in the capital from 100 to 150, increase the number of job roles protected by accredited Living Wage employers to 48,000 (currently around 27,250), and encourage iconic Cardiff employers and ‘anchor’ organisations in Cardiff to become accredited Living Wage employers.
UK wide £1.1 billion extra has now gone into the pockets of low paid workers, with this Living Wage week seeing 210,000 workers get a payrise onto the new Living Wage rates thanks to nearly 6,000 real Living Wage employers.
Despite the good news research by IHG Markit for KPMG has demonstrated the scale of in-work poverty challenge in Wales, with 241,000 jobs (or 21%) of all jobs in Wales still paying less than the real Living Wage.
Professor Rachel Ashworth, Dean of Cardiff Business School and Chair of the Living Wage for Wales Leadership Team, said:
“We are delighted that Cardiff has achieved ‘Living Wage City’ status – and it is testament to the hard work and commitment of Cardiff Council and the team of employers including, I am proud to say my own employer, Cardiff University, who helped to devise the application that we are leading the way. Becoming a ‘Living Wage City’ is not about ticking the boxes, it is about implementing a plan to lift thousands of local workers out of in-work poverty over the next three years. We cannot do this on our own – and so I encourage any employer based in the capital to join us, become an accredited Living Wage employer, and help us make Cardiff a Living Wage City.”
El Bashir Idris, a Leader with Citizens Cymru, which leads the Living Wage campaign in Wales, said:
“It is easy to think of Cardiff as a prosperous place, but all along the southern arc of the city are communities like mine, in Butetown, where almost half of the children grow up in poverty. Young people like me are told that if we study hard and work hard then we’ll find a good job – but one in five jobs in Cardiff pay less than the Real Living Wage. That is why the strategy to make Cardiff a Living Wage City is so important, and why Citizens Cymru Wales will be organising low-paid workers and their families so that they are able to influence the Living Wage City plan and ensure it raises the wages of those who really need it.”
Cynnal Cymru Director, Mari Arthur said:
“Since Cynnal Cymru have managed the accreditation process in Wales we have seen a significant increase in accreditation, and whilst we celebrate those employers that have recognised the valuable contribution their employees bring to their organisations, there are still too many people being paid poverty wages in Wales. We look forward to raising awareness of the value and benefits of the Real Living Wage this week and encourage all employers to consider joining the 222 Living Wage accredited employers in Wales.”
Chief Executive of Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, Chris Jones, said:
“Our people are our greatest asset and best ambassadors, so ensuring they are paid fairly is at the heart of our not-for-profit approach – so we are proud to support the Living Wage Foundation in this mission.
“As one of Wales’s biggest employers, we want to play an active, positive role in the communities we serve – and promoting fair working practices is key to achieving this. This benefits our people, and also helps realise our vision of earning the trust of customers, every day.”
Chris Nott, Senior Partner, Capital Law Ltd said:
“The Living Wage isn’t just a human right, it’s also good for business. What successful businesses have in common is happy, collegiate committed workforces, who enjoy coming to work – the starting point for this is to pay them properly. We’ve enjoyed working with Cardiff council, Citizens Cymru, Cynnal Cymru and other prominent employers in the region to champion this vision, understand the local low pay challenges, and set out a plan to address them. Now that Cardiff has officially been awarded ‘Living Wage City’ status, I look forward to seeing the number of companies paying the living wage continue to increase. It’s a marginal difference for employers, that can have big benefits for their employees and business alike.”
Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation Director, said:
“Today’s new Living Wage rates will provide a welcome pay boost for thousands of workers throughout Wales. We are also delighted at the ambition of Cardiff to build a Living Wage city, with Cardiff planning to double the number of workers getting the real Living Wage to nearly 50,000, freeing many more families from the low pay trap. We hope to see many more towns and cities follow suit.”