Living Wage Week: Manchester makes strides in journey to become a Living Wage City

  • Tuesday 7 November 2023

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The number of employers paying the real Living Wage has increased by more than half a year on from Manchester receiving the initial Living Wage City accreditation.

The Council has made a commitment to becoming a Living Wage City as there are still too many people living in Manchester that are not paid a living wage which enables them to cover the basics and live comfortably. And the impact on these residents has worsened due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.  

In October 2022, the Council received formal recognition from the Living Wage Foundation for Manchester’s plan to become a Living Wage City.  

The Council has worked with key Manchester businesses and anchor institutions to encourage more of the city’s employers to pay employees at least the Real Living Wage – and become accredited Living Wage Employers themselves.

The number of Manchester employers now paying the Real Living Wage has increased to 282 – a rise of 50.8 % in the last year. This exceeds the targets set for both 2023 and 2024.  

Within newly accredited Real Wage employers, the number jobs uplifted to a real wage has increased by 9,020 people – an 80.8% increase in the last year – and well ahead of the 2023 target of 6,056 employees.  This means that there are now more than 9,000 people earning the Living Wage, who hadn’t previously been paid at that level.   

City-wide, the number of people employed or contracted by Real Living Wage employers has increase by 13.2% since this time last year – with the proportion of jobs employed by accredited Living Wage employers increasing from 16.3% to 18.4%.  

The move is also part of a broader five-year action plan called Making Manchester Fairer, which aims to address inequalities in the city that can start early on in life and even affect how long people live for, and their opportunities around work and housing. The plan also includes work around tackling cost of living pressures and poverty, which are also integral to improving health and wellbeing.   

Case Study  

Luke Tann, lifeguard and swimming teacher at Withington Baths, said: 

“Withington Baths has 100% given me many new qualifications – starting out at 16 with nothing. The Real Living Wage at Withington Baths is really great. It’s allowed me to do my work as a student part time, but also still work here. It means that I can still fit studying around my work and make a good wage to live on. 

“I think other employers should get involved with give the Real Living Wage, as we’re the only one in Withington accredited. It makes a big difference to staff members life myself. It allows me to shop more locally in my community and give back to the people around here. 

“But it also just makes life a lot better and me and my peers are much happier with the wage – it has a big impact on your life.” 


Living Wage Week Event – Thursday 9 November 

As part of Living Wage Week, the Council and Living Wage partners are hosting a celebration event marking one year in the journey to become a fully accredited Living Wage City.  

The event will bring together a range of employers and business leaders to showcase the journeys of organisations to become Living Wage accredited – particularly the positive impact on their workforce.  

The event will also celebrate Manchester Airport Group becoming a Living Wage Accredited employer.  The Airport is a major employer and anchor institution in the city, with an extensive network of suppliers.  Its accreditation as a Living Wage employer will make a positive difference to the lives of its employees and those on its supply chain. 

Manchester City Council is already an accredited Living Wage Employer - accredited in 2019 by the Living Wage Foundation.  

The real Living Wage is an independently assessed income  that is based on the cost of living – and ensures that employees receive a wage that meets their everyday needs.  

This is currently set at £12ph (outside of London) and exceeds both the minimum wage (£10.18ph) and the national living wage (£10.42).  


Cllr Joanna Midgley, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said:  

“During the cost-of-living crisis, the importance of receiving a fair wage for a fair day’s work is more important than ever. Our journey to become a Living Wage City isn’t just us as a Council, but a network of businesses and organisations across Manchester that are committed to improving the quality of life and mental health and wellbeing of our residents.  

“The real Living Wage isn’t just a number. It’s the amount someone needs to lead a life without poverty – or the need to work multiple jobs. The progress we have made on this journey over the last 12 months is remarkable and this work has meant that 9,000 more people have received a boost in pay.  

“We have to thank the wide range of organisations who have recognised the importance of the real Living Wage and have embarked on their own journey – benefiting both the individual worker and the business alike. 

“But this is only the beginning. There are still too many businesses who do not pay their workforce enough to live on. We will continue to spread the real Living Wage message because this commitment is not just the right thing to do, but it’s essential for the economic resilience and wellness of Manchester people.” 

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