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National commission commends Loughborough research as foundation for Living Wage

The Living Wage Commission has established a new, independent basis for setting the Living Wage across the UK, in which Loughborough research plays a central role.

The Commission, whose members include the General Secretary of the TUC and leading figures from business, academia and civil society, was established to provide a systematic method of accrediting a living wage based on what workers need to cover living costs.

Up until now, separate systems for calculating a voluntary living wage have been operating inside and outside London, and the compulsory “national living wage” adopted by the Government is not based on any living-cost calculation at all.

The new system will use a common methodology to work out rates for London and the rest of the UK, whose 2016 levels will be announced at the end of October. The starting point will be the cost of baskets of goods and services that the public say households require to meet their needs and participate in society.  According to the Commission’s report:

“The Living Wage Commission currently views the Minimum Income Standard research carried out by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University as the best available source for this basket of goods.”

Professor Donald Hirsch, Director of the Centre for Research in Social Policy, said:

“The Living Wage Foundation set up this Commission to ensure that a living wage can be calculated independently, based on real evidence on living costs. In taking such an evidence-based approach, it has given credibility to the wage that it is asking employers to pay as a minimum.  The fact that this evidence is based on what members of the public identify as essential costs adds to this credibility, as a socially defined standard.

“We are obviously delighted that our research is being used in this way, as the aim of social research is not just to advance knowledge, but also to inform social change. We have drawn attention to the fact that minimum wages are not enough to produce minimum living standards, and this has contributed to pay rises for thousands of people working for the 2,700 accredited Living Wage employers.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 16/133

Up until now, the Living Wage accredited by the Living Wage Foundation has been calculated by the Greater London Authority in London and by Loughborough’s Centre for Research in Social Policy in the rest of the UK. The new method will apply a common basis that draws on aspects of both approaches. The central calculation, of the cost of a minimum basket of goods and services, will use Loughborough’s Minimum Income Standard, both inside and outside London.

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Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named the best in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey. Loughborough was ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2017 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2017 and was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017, and University of the Year in the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In September 2015 the University opened an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

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