Employers are reluctant to adopt the London Living Wage despite last week’s report of growing inequalities across Redbridge.
At the London Assembly today, Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, urged businesses in London to pay the London Living Wage to their employees.
Responding to a question by South West London representative Tony Arbour, Boris said: “I think a compulsory living wage is not the way forward.
“We’re making considerable headway however,” he added.
The London Living Wage, which was introduced in 2005, currently stands at £8.55.
While the wage is not binding, up to 200 employers back the scheme.
In Ilford, the average hourly wage is £16.46, while across London it is £20.10, according to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2012.
Almost a quarter of people living in Ilford earn below the London Living Wage.
Last week, a report by The London Poverty Profile, compiled by charity Trust for London, showed that wealthy residents lived up to eight years longer than the poorest in Redbridge.
Corps officer John Clifton, from The Salvation Army, based in Clements Road, Ilford, said: “A lot of these problems could be addressed through employers paying a living wage.”
However, employers say it’s out of their hands.
Naeem Hassanali, owner of Accurate Alarms Ltd, Seven Kings, said: “I really want to pay a decent wage, but I simply can’t afford to.
“The government needs to do more to help us pay our workers enough to live properly.”
Earlier this year, Redbridge Council began a consultation process on paying the London Living Wage to Redbridge Council employees.
Lee Scott, MP for Ilford-North said: “I think it would be fair for all to be paid a fair wage.”