Milton Keynes Council pays its dues to become an official Living Wage Employer

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Milton Keynes Council has been officially accredited as a Living Wage Employer.

The Council, which has been paying its own staff the Living Wage since the start of April this year, has received this important accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation.

Now staff and employees of contractors – who fit the Living Wage Foundation criteria* - will receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.25 - significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £6.70 – by 1 April 2016.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK. Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public; it is a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet.

Milton Keynes Council Leader Pete Marland said: “At the council we strive for a fair and equitable approach to paying our employees – and ensuring where we can that our contractors do the same  – so we are really pleased to have received the official ‘stamp of approval’ from the Living Wage Foundation.”

Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis.

The Living Wage enjoys cross-party support, with public backing from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, and the situation is reflected in Milton Keynes, with opposition party leaders Cllr Edith Bald (Conservative) and Douglas McCall (Liberal Democrats) backing Cllr Marland (Labour).

Living Wage Foundation Director, Sarah Vero said: “We are delighted to welcome Milton Keynes Council to the Living Wage movement as an accredited employer. This is a huge commitment to tackling the challenge of in-work poverty, particularly in challenging sectors such as social care.

“The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now. We hope that the leadership shown by the council will encourage other businesses in Milton Keynes to review their own pay and reward packages, and consider how they too could become Living Wage employers. The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.

“We have now accredited over 2,000 leading employers, including Milton Keynes Council, ranging from independent printers, bookshops and breweries, to well-known companies such as Nationwide, Aviva and Unilever. These businesses recognise that clinging to the national minimum wage is not good for business. Customers expect better than that."

* The Living Wage Foundation defines the contractors as those who have staff who work for at least two hours per day on Council premises or land over a period of 8 consecutive weeks or more.

The Living Wage Foundation recognises that it will not be possible to implement the Living Wage into current contracts and therefore accreditation can be gained by agreeing milestones for action in the future. They will also provide expert advice and support on how to work with suppliers to achieve this.

All new tenders for affected contracts will require suppliers to pay the Living Wage  where there are any ‘gaps’ these will be reviewed next year.

About the Living Wage Foundation

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis. The Living Wage enjoys cross party support.

The London Living Wage is currently £9.40 per hour. This figure is set annually by the Greater London Authority and covers all boroughs in Greater London. The UK Living Wage for outside of London is currently £8.25 per hour. This figure is set annually by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University.

The Living Wage Foundation recognises and celebrates the leadership shown by Living Wage employers across the UK. We believe that work should be the surest way out of poverty.

We are an initiative of Citizens UK. We receive guidance and advice from the Living Wage Advisory Council. The Foundation is supported by ten principal partners: Aviva; Joseph Rowntree Foundation; KPMG; Linklaters; Nationwide; Nestle; Resolution Foundation; Save the Children; Trust for London; and Queen Mary University of London.

What about the Government’s national living wage?

In July 2015 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the UK Government will introduce a compulsory ‘national living wage’. This new government rate is a minimum wage premium rate for staff over 25 years old. It will be introduced from April 2016 and the rate will be £7.20 per hour. The rate is separate to the Living Wage rate calculated by the Living Wage Foundation.  The government rate is based on median earnings while the Living Wage Foundation rate is calculated according to the cost of living. 

The National Minimum Wage
(including the ‘national living wage’)


The Living Wage


  •          The legal minimum an employee can earn in an hour. Employers break the law if they fail to pay this rate


  •          A voluntary rate that employers commit to pay in order to go above and beyond. The Living Wage Employer Mark is a sign of best practice


  •          The ‘national living wage’ rate will be £7.20 an hour
  •          The current UK Living Wage is £8.25 an hour.
    The current London Living Wage is £9.40


  •          This will increase each year, with the aim of reaching 60% of the median wage across the country by 2020 (this would mean around £9 an hour but the Low Pay Commission will consider what the market can bear)


  •          This will increase in line with the cost of living with increases announced in Living Wage Week every year


  •          Different rates apply depending on the age of the employee. The ‘national living wage’ is for over 25s only


  •          The Living Wage is the same for all employees over the age of 18


  •          Set by the Low Pay Commission
  •          Set by the Living Wage Foundation


  •          Based on an estimation of what the market can bear
  •          Based on the cost of living
  •          The rates are the same right across the UK
  •          There is a separate rate for London to reflect the higher cost of living in the Capital