Catholic Church and Church of England support the Living Wage
On 16 November, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales committed Catholic institutions to implementing the Living Wage. Their meeting in Leeds took advice from their Diocesan Finance Secretaries to recognise “that fair wages are essential to the common good of our society”. The Bishop of Brentwood, Thomas McMahon, has been a long-standing supporter, along with previous bishops of Wrexham and Newcastle. Given the extent of employment by Catholic organisations and charities, it is likely that thousands of people could be affected and lifted out of ‘in-work poverty’. As such, it will be one of the largest institutions to support the Living Wage.
Then on 21 November, an overwhelming vote of the Church of England's General Synod backed the Living Wage in a debate led by Church Action on Poverty member, John Freeman. The motion was carried with no votes against, after an hour-long debate which included contributions from the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu. It was supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury elect, Justin Welby, who last week reiterated his support for the Living Wage and said it is something “we should be shouting about”.
Alan Thornton, Church Action on Poverty’s Campaigns Officer, said: “Virtually every Christian denomination in the land is now committed to the principle of the Living Wage. Since 2002 we have been working with churches to take a clear stand against poverty by adopting the Living Wage. Our work is almost done. It is a great encouragement to the Living Wage movement that two large institutions like the Catholic Church and Church of England have backed the Living Wage within the past week.”
Politicians as diverse as Boris Johnson, Ed Miliband and Alex Salmond have all endorsed the Living Wage in the last year. As well as 35 councils, 12 universities, and four hospitals in the public sector, a range of private sector companies are already accredited Living Wage employers: Barclays, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Lloyds of London, KPMG and Lush.