Sustain / Food Poverty / What are the steps that local authorities can take to reduce food poverty beyond the foodbank?

Supporting fair pay by promoting the Real Living Wage to the local council and employers

Local employers and authorities can help people on a low income to eat well by paying and promoting the Real Living Wage. The Living Wage and London Living Wage are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission. The London Living Wage is set at a higher rate than the Living Wage set for the rest of the country, both of which are higher than the National Living Wage (minimum wage) set by government. The Living Wage and London Living Wage reflect the cost of living, and are updated annually to take account of changing circumstances.

For local authorities in particular there has been welcome progress adopting the Living Wage in social care provision, where pay rates are notoriously low, despite the challenging funding situation faced by local authority care providers. Local authorities can also can act as leaders by becoming accredited and helping influence other employers. They can take a range of actions, including

  • Offering incentives, such as the business rates discounts to employers who are accredited with the Living Wage Foundation;
  • Holding Living Wage awareness events for local employers and suppliers to help increase understanding of the benefits and process of becoming a Living Wage employer;
  • Becoming a Living Wage Friendly Funder and thereby supporting charities to pay the Living Wage through their grant-making.

Listen to our webinar on supporting fair pay and the real Living Wage


Food Poverty: Over 8 million people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat. Sustain is working with communities, third-sector organisations, local authorities and government, aiming to make sure everyone can eat well.

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