Setting a fair pay standard: the government as a living wage employer

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Smith Institute (1997-)
Smith Institute
Date of publication
1 May 2014
Employment, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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According to David Cameron, the living wage is an idea 'whose time has come'. Yet despite his backing central government departments have yet to become living wage employers. If the living wage was really a priority for central government then it is not unreasonable to ask why is it not itself a living wage employer? If government aims to promote the case for extending coverage should it not be leading by example?

This research paper aims to show how much (or indeed, how little in the scheme of government spending) it would cost to pay all low paid workers in Whitehall (including those employed indirectly through public procurement) the living wage.

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