Catholic Church endorses Living Wage ahead of crucial CoE debate

Today, the Catholic bishops of England and Wales committed Catholic institutions to implementing the Living Wage. This comes ahead of a debate by the Church of England's General Synod on Wednesday (21 November) on whether to endorse the principle.

The meeting of Catholic bishops in Leeds this week, took advice from their Diocesan Finance Secretaries to recognise "that fair wages are essential to the common good of our society". The Bishop of Brentwood, Thomas McMahon, has been a long-standing supporter, along with previous bishops of Wrexham and Newcastle. Given the extent of employment by Catholic organisations and charities, it is likely that thousands of people could be affected and lifted out of 'in-work poverty'. As such, it will be one of the largest institutions to support the Living Wage.

Next Wednesday (21 November), the Church of England's General Synod will debate a motion that 'strongly encourages all Church of England institutions to pay at least the Living Wage". The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, will speak after his role last week unveiling the new UK figure of £7.45. Not to be outdone, the Archbishop of Canterbury elect, Justin Welby, also came out last week as a supporter of the Living Wage. After pointing out that his current Diocese of Durham pays staff the Living Wage, Bishop Welby declared: "[It's] an area in which the church has really made a useful social contribution, a really useful one... it's something we should be
shouting about."

Alan Thornton, Church Action on Poverty's Campaigns Officer, said: "Virtually every Christian denomination in the land is now committed to the principle of the Living Wage. It is a great encouragement to the Living Wage campaign and General Synod deliberations that the Catholic Bishops have emphatically backed the Living Wage.
Since 2002 we have been working with churches to take a clear stand against poverty by adopting the Living Wage. Our work is almost done."

Politicians as diverse as Boris Johnson, Ed Miliband and Alex Salmond have all endorsed the Living Wage in the last year. As well as 35 councils, 12 universities, and four hospitals in the public sector, a range of private sector companies are already accredited Living Wage employers: Barclays, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Lloyds of London, KPMG and Lush.

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