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Islington Council becomes the UK’s first Living Wage landlord

Islington Council has become the UK’s first landlord to require that new commercial tenants entering into council leases commit to pay at least the Living Wage to all their staff working on the premises.

The council owns approximately 60 commercial properties in the borough which are let to a variety of large and small businesses, including serviced offices, restaurants, warehouses, a dentist, architects and shops.

Under the new policy, announced today during Living Wage Week, leases with new tenants will include an agreement by the tenants to pay at least the Living Wage. In London, the Living Wage is currently set independently and was increased today (November 6) to £10.20 an hour, from £9.75 an hour.

If commercial tenants do not keep to this agreement, and fail to pay the Living Wage, their leases will not be renewed when they expire.

The pioneering move is Islington’s latest ground-breaking step to promote the Living Wage.  Islington Council became the UK’s first Living Wage local authority in 2012 and the borough is home to 125 other accredited Living Wage employers, one of the highest concentrations in the UK.

Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council’s executive member for finance, performance and community safety, said: “We believe no-one should have to do a hard day’s work for less than they can live on. That’s why we continue to offer civic leadership on the Living Wage.

“As part of our ongoing work to tackle the scourge of working poverty, we will now insist that new commercial tenants commit to paying at least the real Living Wage to their staff working in our buildings.

“Many organisations in Islington already pay the Living Wage. That’s shrewd of them because it brings many benefits to employers, including improved staff morale and better rates of retention.  Becoming a Living Wage landlord will mean even more Islington-based organisations will do the right thing by helping us to tackle poverty pay.”

Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “This is a fantastic move by Islington Council, leading the way among local authorities committed to the Living Wage movement.

“As we head into Living Wage Week when the new rates are announced, Islington Council is leading the charge of responsible employers, putting the dignity and wellbeing of their employees and those of their commercial tenants first, by ensuring that all staff earn a wage that covers the cost of living.”

The policy will apply to new commercial tenants from today.

As part of Living Wage Week, Islington Council is also:

  • working to increase the number of grant-giving organisations in Islington who are Living Wage Friendly Funders, as the council already is
  • launching a  'business ambassador’ scheme – recruiting businesses in Islington who already pay the Living Wage and are willing to encourage others in the borough to become London Living Wage employers


For further information please contact: 
Chris Roe, Media Manager 
Tel: 020 7527 8751 
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