From Debbie Akehurst, CEO of the Central District Alliance, a Primera business improvement district.
WHYHASYOURBUSINESSCHOSENTOBE A LONDONLIVINGWAGE (LLW) EMPLOYER?
Primera is behind a dozen business improvement districts and partnerships across central London, representing over 3,000 businesses and a million employees. For us, as a company working in London and for London, paying our employees the London Living Wage is simply putting our money where our mouth is. Our goal is to work with our partners across the city to support the success of our capital, and ensuring our employees get a fair wage which contributes to their day-to-day expenses simply is the right thing to do, and it makes business sense.
WHATBENEFITSHASYOURBUSINESSEXPERIENCED, BYBEING A LLWEMPLOYER?
Given our company’s mission, it was crucial for use to be London Living Wage-accredited. We see this not only as an internal corporate benefit, helping us to attract and retain staff in what is a very competitive recruitment market, but given our extensive network of members across the business improvement districts and partnerships in our portfolio, it was very important for us to be able showcase good credentials as a responsible partner.
Becoming an official London Living Wage organisation will help everyone working for our business improvement districts and give our staff peace of mind and stability at a time when our economy is facing obvious challenges and we are all facing cost-of-living pressures. It is the duty of every good company to provide reassurance to its employees, and we want all our staff to feel like they work for an employer who cares.
WHATDOESBEING A LLWEMPLOYERMEANTOYOUR members and partners?
Representing several thousands of businesses and a million employees in London, we have a responsibility to lead by example, particularly with one of our strands of work being to promote sustainable economic growth for the capital. While many of our members will already be accredited, we look forward to working with the Living Wage Foundation to encourage those who are not and help them take the steps to become accredited themselves. Internally, we also want to embed the accreditation as a standard procurement criteria.
While it is obviously the right thing to do, it’s also important to realise that paying the London Living Wage makes business sense. Of course, times are also tough for companies and this may mean more costs upfront, but in a city as big as London, we need to understand that we must be competitive if we want to attract and retain the best talent. For those willing to take that step, the process to become a London Living Wage-accredited employer couldn’t be simpler, and we look forward to working with our members and supporting them through it.
Primera is a London-based consultancy specialising in placemaking through public/private partnerships. Operating a dozen business improvement districts in some of the most high-profile neighbourhoods of the capital, such as Westminster, Harley Street and the City of London, Primera represents more than 3,000 London businesses, from major tourist attractions and global companies to SMEs and charities, as well as over 1m employees. Each BID has its own dedicated team in charge of delivering the business plan which member businesses voted on, with priorities often including safety, cleanliness, ESG, B2C and B2B destination marketing and public affairs representation.
London is our home. To us, it is the most amazing city in the world, and we are very proud to represent some of its most historical neighbourhoods, helping to shine a spotlight on all they have to offer to Londoners, workers, visitors and businesses from all over the world.
WHATDOYOUTHINKISTHEBESTTHINGABOUTRUNNING A BUSINESSINTHECAPITAL?
The great thing that London offers to businesses is serendipity. You never know who you might meet when you’re getting your morning coffee or while you’re on the tube, and this could be the beginning of a new partnership, or the person that will help you take your business to the next level. London is packed full of incredibly interesting, talented people from all over the world, and businesses you might not even have thought about, and that is the true beauty of it.
There’s no doubt London has faced challenges over the last few years, but the city isn’t alone. No major capital has come out unscathed from Covid and all are dealing with major economic pressures. But London’s fundamentals are strong and the city is resilient. With the right support from national and local government, I have no doubt the capital will continue to be one of the best cities in the world to work and live.