Living wage rise adds to pressure on companies

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There isn't an official start to the Real Living Wage because it's voluntary, so it's now up to the 4,700 businesses that pay their staff the wage to implement the change.

For the first time they will receive £9 an hour. Then there's the National Living Wage, which is basically the Minimum Wage but for over-25s.

Some 4,700 employers across the United Kingdom are signed up to the agreement, including large companies including IKEA, Aviva, Nationwide Building Society and Google.

The most surprising thing about this whole endeavour is that almost 5,000 businesses voluntarily pay their staff the Real Living Wage when no one's making them. For the more than 1,500 companies in London that pay a rate set by the Living Wage Foundation the rise will be 35p to £10.55 an hour. It argues the government's National Living Wage is not high enough to meet workers' needs and encourages employers to adopt to its more generous, independently calculated rate.

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Lidl is once again boosting hourly wages for its 17,000 employees as part of its "ongoing commitment" to supporting employees, the discount supermarket said.

"We want to see local councils, universities, football clubs, bus companies and the other major public and private sector employers in every city commit to become real Living Wage employers".

However research published over the weekend suggests the Living Wage Foundation is fighting a losing battle.

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