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Barry Bassett of VMI saved money and energy through the council's smart business grants

The London Living Wage is good for business

Ealing Council and its partners in the borough’s Living Wage Action Group are holding a free event next week to celebrate the borough’s commitment to becoming a Living Wage Place.

The event is taking place at Freddie’s Bar at the University of West London on Wednesday 10 July, between 10am and midday. It offers local employers the chance to hear from their peers about how they have benefitted from paying their staff the London Living Wage (LLW).

If you would like to attend, register for a free place on Eventbrite.

The LLW is an hourly rate of pay, currently set at £13.15. It is calculated to give workers in London and their families enough to afford the essentials and to save.

Why pay the London Living Wage?

There are a number of ways local organisations could benefit from paying the LLW. The Living Wage Foundation surveyed accredited businesses across the country and found that 94% reported positive outcomes like attracting more customers and improved staff recruitment and retention.

The survey showed that people want to work for a Living Wage organisation, with 93% of university students wanting to work for an accredited employer. People also wanted to buy from and support Living Wage employers, with 90% of consumers more likely to buy a product or service from an employer that paid the Living Wage.

‘We are only ever as good as our people’

Local company VMI.TV is based in Acton as well as Bristol, and hires out camera and digital equipment to TV and movie productions. The company makes sure it pays all of its staff at least the London Living Wage. Managing director Barry Bassett is pictured above at the Acton HQ.

When we interviewed Barry (following the firm being recognised for its climate action), he said: “Our staff turnover rate today is the lowest that it has ever been. It’s really important to invest in your staff. I had the idea a long time ago that if you pay people well, then they stay.

“And, if people stay, then you get much more out of them, you get much more experienced people, their productivity increases, you can invest more into them and, ultimately, we are only ever as good as the people that are within the organisation.”

What support is available?

So far, more than 60 businesses in the borough have been accredited as London Living Wage employers. Businesses of all sizes can accredit, including sole traders, charities, and not-for-profits. The accreditation process is very simple – you can start the process by visiting the Living Wage Foundation website.

The council is launching a new support and incentives programme at the event to encourage more local businesses to sign up. The first 250 businesses to accredit before 31 March 2025 will be able to access:

  • grants to cover accreditation costs
  • free recruitment services
  • free business planning support
  • free training and development programmes for your employees
  • a dedicated ‘Business Buddy’ – a council officer to support you with access to council services and advice
  • free promotional opportunities to showcase your business.

You can find out more and speak to the team at the event or by emailing invest@ealing.gov.uk.

‘It just makes business sense’

Luke Munro, managing director of Wellworking

Park Royal-based Wellworking is an award-winning UK supplier of office and home office furniture that specialises in workplace wellbeing. The company signed up to pay the London Living Wage in 2016.

Luke Munro, the managing director, said: “At Wellworking, we are really proud to have been named as one of the Sunday Times Best Places to Work 2024, and one of the factors that got us there is our commitment to fair pay. 

“Companies that properly support their staff will retain their talent, attract the best people, and increase productivity.”

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