A spokesperson for Sadiq Khan’s campaign to become Labour’s candidate for Mayor has attempted to downplay reports that he would increase the London Living Wage to £10 per hour.
The Independent newspaper reported that the LLW would raise to that level “next year if Sadiq Khan becomes the city’s Mayor in next May’s election”.
News of the apparent pledge to boost the LLW rate has been welcomed by a number of Khan’s supporters including Manuel Cortes, General Secretary of the TSSA union:
However the hourly rate is set by the independent Living Wage Foundation and not by City Hall, prompting questions about Khan’s understanding of how the scheme works.
One Trustee of the Living Wage Foundation tweeted:
Although Mr Khan declined to answer a number of Tweets asking him to confirm that he’s aware of how the LLW is set and the lack of mayoral involvement, a member of his campaign has now contacted MayorWatch to say those pointing out the Mayor has no power to set the LLW had “misunderstood Sadiq’s announcement” and that “he understands” how the rate is set.
The spokesperson sought to downplay the report’s claim that Khan would immediately establish a new £10 rate, insisting he had merely said the rate “should be uprated to take full account of the cuts to tax credits, which is part of the basis for the annual calculation by the Living Wage Foundation & GLA economics.”
Commenting on the reported £10 rate, the spokesperson added: “He will ensure all GLA staff and contractors are paid at least £10 an hour – higher than the current minimum of the Living Wage.”
However the campaign spokesperson twice failed to answer when asked to definitively confirm that Khan didn’t “tell [The Independent] the LLW would be raised to £10 an hour next if he’s Mayor” and that the paper had misunderstood or misreported his comments.
Instead, the following quote in Mr Khan’s name was provided: “Unfairness and inequality in our city hurts everyone, from the lowest earners to the highest. Conversely, taking action to ensure everyone gets paid fairly and treated well at work, and has access to opportunities to train and develop, will lead us to a stronger economy – higher-skilled, better-paid and harder-working. It will make London a far better city in which to live and bring up a family.
“I will work with business, unions, and working Londoners to make our city a beacon for the rest of the world – proving that high employment standards, fair pay and model corporate citizenship are good for business, and the economy as a whole.”
The efforts of Mr Khan’s spokesperson were however undermined by the candidate’s re-tweeting of supportive messages praising the semi-denied pledge to increase the hourly rate: