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Living Wage scheme launches with only Campion Hall on board

A new scheme for accrediting local employers who pay the Oxford Living Wage has launched with Campion Hall the only University employer on the list.

A spokesperson for Oxford City Council, which launched the scheme, confirmed that no other college or PPH applied for accreditation, although they would have accepted Blackfriars had they applied.

An investigation last year by the Oxford University Living Wage Campaign found that Campion Hall and Blackfriars were the only Colleges or PPHs to pay the Oxford Living Wage, which is currently set at £10.02 an hour.

Labour Councillor Martyn Rush told Cherwell that student campaigns at St. Hilda’s and Wolfson made campaigners “hopeful of progress on these fronts soon”.

“However, I do agree with the leader of the Council, Susan Brown, in her recent comments that this situation should be a lot better”, he continued.

“All of our Universities and Colleges in the city – all 44 Colleges/PPHs, the Uni itself, Oxford Brookes and Ruskin should constitute an ‘Oxford Living Wage Zone’ for its staff, and that is our vision as a City Council.

“More broadly, the Council believes the Oxford Living Wage is the minimum needed to live sustainably, and with dignity in this city.

“Oxford is one of the most expensive cities in the UK and the Oxford Living Wage is necessary to keep people out of poverty pay and to tackle inequality in our city, it’s the keystone in the arch of solving a lot of social justice issues in our city.

“The University and its Colleges absolutely should be leading on that, and we as a Council need to continue making the case and students need to apply greater pressure in their Colleges.”

A report last month by Good Food Oxford and funded by the City Council found that the government-recommended healthy diet would cost an individual £41.93 per week in Oxford, compared to the £25.97 per week it is estimated would be available for an individual earning the National Living Wage to spend on food.

Oxford was recently classed the least affordable city in the UK, with average weekly rental prices at £121.15, much higher than the national average of £87.68.

Councillor Rush told Cherwell: “I believe we are the only local authority in the country to have its own Living Wage rate, and its own accreditation system.

“We’re very proud of that and believe it’s a big step forward to having more take up as it provides an awards system and extra incentives for employers, as well as letting citizens and students know who is doing the right thing – and who isn’t.”

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