Beyond the bottom line: The challenges and opportunities of a living wage
IPPR's major report asks what role public policy should play in supporting progress on the living wage, the campaign for which has exemplified the power of bottom-up organisation.
Eleven years after it was revived by a broad-based community campaign in East London, the living wage is now an established fixture of our national policy debate. Yet in some senses, living wages have generated more heat than light, and as the living wage concept begins to attract serious scrutiny, the time is ripe for a far more rigorous and informed discussion.
What is the role of public policy in supporting progress on the living wage? The living wage campaign exemplifies the power of bottom-up organisation, and this must remain at the heart of the living wage idea. Yet there is a clear role for public policy in supporting civil society.
Recommendations and proposals in this report focus on:
- Encouraging living wage leadership within the public sector
- Using the procurement power of national and local government to extend living wage coverage
- Supporting the take-up of living wages among large private sector employers
- Incentivising living wage coverage among small and medium-sized enterprises
- Strengthening the living wage campaign