Cambridge City Council works with businesses that want to help reduce poverty in Cambridge

By Dylan Wiggan
OCT 17 2019

Cambridge City Council is working with businesses to help them develop local corporate social responsibility approaches to reduce poverty in Cambridge. It is also encouraging business to pay their staff the Real Living Wage, to help tackle poverty and provide a wide range of benefits to businesses themselves.

To provide businesses with further information, the council is holding an event called ‘How can your business help people living in poverty in Cambridge?’ on November 13, 2019. The event is being held during Living Wage Week (November 11 to 17).

Cambridge is the most unequal city in the UK, according to recent research by the Centre for Cities, and there is a ten year life expectancy gap between the richest and poorest areas of the city. Businesses can help to reduce inequality and tackle poverty in the city by becoming accredited with the Living Wage Foundation, through charitable giving, and supporting individuals and community groups by sharing skills and knowledge.

The event will provide an opportunity for businesses to hear from The Cambridge Building Society about their journey towards accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation. The Living Wage Foundation will then help delegates explore the practicalities of the living wage accreditation process. The event will also provide an opportunity for businesses to hear about Cambridge 2030. Cambridge 2030 is an initiative being developed by Simon Humphrey (Arm), Alison Taylor (Conscious Communications) and Robert Marshall (Marshall). It aims to bring businesses, charities and public sector partners together to develop a shared vision and action plan to tackle poverty in Cambridge. The manifesto for Cambridge 2030 will outline targets and indicators linked to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Living Wage Week is a national campaign week aimed at celebrating employers that pay the Real Living Wage and have become accredited with the Living Wage Foundation. The Real Living Wage is the only wage independently calculated to reflect real living costs and is one of the most important ways to tackle in-work poverty. At the start of Living Wage Week, on Monday, November 11, the new rates of the Real Living Wage will be announced, which accredited employers must implement within six months.

Businesses can become accredited with the Living Wage Foundation if they pay the Real Living Wage to directly employed staff and have a plan in place to ensure contracted staff receive this rate of pay too.

Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “We are really looking forward to the event discussing practical means for businesses to help tackle poverty in Cambridge.

“The event on November 13 will also be a great opportunity to celebrate our Living Wage accredited employers in the city. This year the council won a national award for its work in raising awareness about the Real Living Wage and supporting employers through the accreditation process. This event will be a good opportunity for us to reach more businesses through our campaign. We are so pleased to be holding this event at Queen’s College which became accredited with the Living Wage Foundation a few years ago, and is currently the only Cambridge University College to have done so.”