KPMG marks the 120th Living Wage anniversary

KPMG marks the 120th Living Wage anniversary

The agreement was the first recording of a London standard wage level being established to pay people above the deemed ‘poverty line’.

Also on

Sunday 8th March marks the 120th anniversary of the reporting of the first Living Wage agreement by The London County Council. This was the first recording of a London standard wage level being established to pay people above the deemed ‘poverty line’. A lot has changed since 1895, not only is the value of £1 equivalent to £99.13 today, but the way we do business has changed a lot too.

Mike Kelly, head of Living Wage at KPMG, highlights that there is a lot more to do and what businesses can learn from history. He said:

“The 120th anniversary of the Living Wage is celebration to mark a great socially conscious business cause. The London Living Wage in 1895 was 24 shillings for men and 8 shillings for women but in the 21st century we’ve recognised the right to equal pay and today the London Living wage is £9.15 per hour today. The root of the agreement on the rate included engagement with social reformers, unions and the Council; which still exists today, though a lot more still needs to be done.

“For far too long low income households have been struggling to make ends meet and for young people who are trapped in low paid jobs, with little prospects, it’s an even bleaker situation. The fact remains that more than five million people are earning less than they need to live on. Too many families still struggle to afford the basics, meaning we face a scenario that, in 2015, should have long been consigned to the footnotes of history.

“Marking the 120th anniversary is the perfect opportunity for employers to consider whether they can join the growing list of businesses paying a Living Wage. It may not be possible or practical for everyone, but all organisations need to do what they can to address the problem of low pay. Of course, change cannot happen instantly, but making an initial assessment is an important first step. In 1895 they introduced a positive change in their business model and reported on the benefits generated.

“Business and government need to work together as we are in danger of creating a ‘lost generation’ of low paid youth workers in working poverty. It’s time to take responsibility to ensure that staff and suppliers receive a fair wage.”

- ENDS -


For media enquiries, please contact:

Nahidur Rahman, KPMG Press Office

T: 020 7694 8812

M: 0788191 6975


KPMG Press office: +44 (0) 207 694 8773

Follow us on twitter: @kpmguk


About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 12,000 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.9 billion in the year ended September 2014. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 162,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

Connect with us


Request for proposal



KPMG’s new-look website

KPMG’s new-look website