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Labour Calls Boris Johnson's Living Wage Claim A "Pyramid Of Piffle"

Boris Johnson said it is important that more Londoners are paid the living wage. But the number of people in the city earning less than that has gone up by almost 350,000 since he became mayor.

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Launching the Tories' London campaign, Boris Johnson told the Evening Standard that the living wage should be “front and centre of what we’re trying to do”.

Anthony Devlin / PA Wire / Press Association

He added: “We’ve got to be pointing out that what we are about is helping people to get a higher standard of living, to improve the quality of their lives.”

But Labour's shadow minister for London told BuzzFeed News that the number earning less than the living wage has gone up by nearly 350,000 under Johnson.

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"To use his own words, this is an 'inverted pyramid of piffle' from Boris Johnson," said Sadiq Khan.

"Since he became mayor in 2008 the number of Londoners earning less than the living wage has gone up by 348,000 to nearly 1 million. Working Londoners have had their wages squeezed and are really suffering."

The living wage, currently £7.85, is meant to signify the wage required to cover the basic cost of living. The London living wage is even higher, at £9.15 per hour.

In 2008, there were 569,000 Londoners earning less than the London living wage. This went up to 917,000 in 2014, according to the Greater London Authority.

Khan also noted that Labour plans to raise the minimum wage to £8 an hour if the party is voted into power.

Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Siraj Datoo at

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