Winter may be coming to an end but the cost-of-living-crisis continues. People who know us will know that we are supporters and campaigners for the Real Living Wage – from our accreditation to our involvement in the Royal Docks Living Wage Action Group. Our borough of Newham is one of the most exciting and diverse boroughs in the world but it also has one of the highest rates of social deprivation as this latest story from Newham Council starkly shows. These cases aren’t confined to Newham and are happening up and down the UK right now. And that’s why every employer needs to read on so that they can do the right thing and ensure their employees earn enough to live on…
300,000 families and counting
In September 2022, the cost-of-living-crisis was affecting so many families in such extreme ways that Newham Council launched its Cost-of-Living Response initiative. Our Newham Money – the council’s financial support service which has been running this scheme – has seen a 125% increase in people struggling and coming to them for support. It has helped Newham residents claim benefits they may not have realised they were entitled to and in the last six months alone has helped people receive an additional £1.2million in benefits that would otherwise have been left unclaimed. It also helped 5000 families who were struggling to afford food or heating. It has also introduced ‘Warm Havens’ within its libraries where residents can go to keep warm. Over 300,000 residents have needed to use them so far this winter.
Our founder, Surinder, said, “It is heart-breaking to hear about the amount of families on our doorstep who have had to leave their homes just to warm up this winter or who have had to choose between feeding themselves or their children. Many of these families are working in low-paid jobs where they are just not earning enough to live. Winter is coming to an end but people still need to eat, they still need hot showers and baths, they still need to pay for unexpected trips to the dentist or transport to the places they need to go – and that’s just the very basics.
“The Royal Docks Action Group is a brilliant example of what can be achieved when employers get together to educate others about the Real Living Wage. We have clients all over the UK as well as here in Newham and we urge everyone: If you aren’t already Living Wage accredited, go to the website and get involved – and if you already pay your employees a real living wage, whenever you are meeting or networking, talk to other employers about it. The cost-of-living crisis needs to be urgently addressed by central government but until that happens employers need to step-up and look after the people they rely on.”
To find out more about The Real Living Wage, click here.
If you live in Newham and are struggling financially, you can get help and advice by clicking here or by calling 020 8430 2041
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