|Mayor Steve Bullock and Councillors at Cam Specialist Support Services with Matt Johnson (far left) the Managing Director and apprentices.|
Incentive for living wage: Lewisham council has honoured a Living Wage employer as it unveiled proposals to slash business rates up to £5,000 to encourage other firms to follow their example. Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, presented Matt Johnson and Sean Canty, joint owners of CAM Specialist Support, with a certificate in recognition of the company’s commitment to paying their employees a fair wage.
The cleaning company at Malham Industrial Estate in Forest Hill, received its Living Wage accreditation in August. It was founded by Matt Johnson, who started out as a window cleaner, 25-years ago and now has a £3million turnover. Mr Johnson said: “The cleaning industry offers tremendous opportunities to the right people. I myself started off as a window cleaner and now run my own diverse company.
However, we need to make the industry more attractive to quality applicants so that our profession gains the credibility it deserves. The first stage on that journey is to ensure we pay a wage that people can actually live on.”
Lewisham’s Mayor and Cabinet meeting today, is due to consider proposals to give companies a business rate discount if they get accredited with the Living Wage Foundation. The wage level, which is to be £9.40 an hour in London from next April, is the amount calculated independently by the Living Wage Foundation. This is more than £2 higher than the national living wage announced by George Osborne in the budget.
The council says Lewisham faces higher than average levels of in-work poverty with one in four jobs in the borough paying below the living wage. Sir Steve said: “We were proud to be the first Living Wage council in the country. But we want to do more to encourage and support our partners and local businesses to pay the Living Wage too. A fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”
Commenting on the award, Johnson said: “We pay the Living Wage, because we believe it is the right thing to do morally. I want everyone who works here to be able to feed and clothe their families and not be worrying about in-work poverty. As well as the moral benefits, we’ve found there are commercial returns as staff are more loyal and flexible when they are being treated with respect, reducing recruitment time and costs.
Paying the Living Wage also means people are less likely to take shortcuts while working and we have an excellent safety record as a result. “We hope more businesses will realise the benefits of paying the Living Wage to their staff and contractors so that everyone receives a fairer deal.”