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Ikea, Nationwide, Exeter Foodbank

23rd May 2019

Exeter Foodbank is proud to join companies such as IKEA and Nationwide in becoming an accredited Living Wage* employer.

The Real Living Wage – in contrast to the National Living Wage, which by law must be paid to all employees aged 25 or over – is the only wage rate determined by what people actually need to live on.  It is set according to an independent calculation of the real cost of living, which is based on a range of household goods and services.

Chair of Trustees, Sarah Hornblower, said “In our work we see many people who, whilst they may have a job, are not earning enough to feed themselves and their families. So although we employ just three part-time staff it is important for us to lead by example and ensure our people are properly paid.”

In 2018/19, Exeter Foodbank provided 6,857 emergency food parcels for local people in crisis.  This is an average of 132 people per week, and represents a 24% increase over the previous year. Whilst many of those people were experiencing benefit difficulties, particularly in relation to Universal Credit, in-work poverty is on the rise; the foodbank is increasingly supporting people on low income.  Single parents are particularly adversely affected by low wages, as one lady who was recently supported by Exeter Foodbank explains:

I am on my own with 2 children.  I have a job, but balancing work with childcare is really difficult.  I came to the foodbank because it’s the end of the school holidays.  My children had grown out of their school uniforms and shoes so I had to get new ones – we didn’t have any money left for food.  We never have money for extras.   

Sarah Hornblower says: “75% of Living Wage employers say it has increased motivation and employee retention rates. We would encourage other Exeter firms and organisations to join them and us in ensuring that local people do not go to bed hungry.”

*You can find out more about the Living Wage at: https://www.livingwage.org.uk/

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