Manchester gathers pace in bid to become Living Wage City

The City Council is preparing to submit an action plan in partnership with a network of anchor businesses and organisations to become an accredited Living Wage City.

The City Council is already an accredited Living Wage Employer by the national Living Wage Foundation (accredited in 2019), but now the ambition is to expand this pledge and urge as many businesses as possible to pay their employees a true living wage and support them to lead prosperous, happy and healthy lives.

The Real Living Wage is independently calculated based on the cost of living and the amount people need to get by. This is higher than the Government’s minimum and Living Wage.

The Real Living Wage reflects real life costs and aims to allow people to live comfortably without worrying about how they will afford bills, food and other costs, while also promoting a healthy work life balance.

There are more than 20,000 businesses registered in Manchester, but it is estimated that 23.8% of Manchester’s workforce are currently not paid the Real Living Wage.

The Council is already working collaboratively with some of the city’s largest organisations (the Manchester Anchors Living Wage Pilot), to develop the principles for Manchester to become a Living Wage City.

They include: University of Manchester, Bruntwood, KPMG, Manchester International Festival, Laing O’Rourke, Barclays Bank, Jacobs, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Medacs Healthcare , VCSE (voluntary, community and social enterprise) charity MACC, and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

All anchor institutions have agreed to a range of targets over the next three years as part of their commitment to support Manchester in becoming a Living Wage City.

These include:

  • To pay all employees the Real Living Wage
  • To become accredited Living Wage employers through the Living Wage Foundation
  • To ensure their supply chain are Living Wage Employers
  • Use their influence in their sectors to urge similar organisations to commit to paying the Living Wage and support businesses to make changes in their business to pay the Living Wage

The Council together with the Manchester Anchors Living Wage Pilot organisations will submit a Living Wage action plan to the Living Wage Foundation in the coming weeks, following which it is anticipated that the city will receive its Live Wage Place accreditation.


Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said:

“Becoming a Living Wage City is a crucial journey to ensure our residents get paid an amount that reflects the true cost of living – not an arbitrary sum that leaves people battling poverty, working multiple jobs, and unable to pay bills. This is especially important during the current cost of living crisis.

“We know there is a clear link between health, mental health and employment – and this is underpinned by decent pay. A wage that truly supports workers to live a happy and healthy life.

“We have thousands of businesses and organisations in Manchester, so the challenge to bring each and every one of them on this journey with us is significant. But the positive impact this will have on the city’s workforce is incalculable.

“And this isn’t only good for workers, it’s also good for employers and good for society. We know that people are looking for Real Wage employers, and those that do have a much better relationship with their workforce, they retain workers for longer and paying the Real Living Wage improves their reputation in the market.

“As we continue economic recovery from the pandemic, we have an opportunity to make Manchester a fairer city and one where everyone benefits from the city’s growth. Part of this recovery is making sure our residents get the pay they need to live. It’s not only a good thing to do, but the right thing.”

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