Starbucks has raised the profile of its corporate social responsibility twofold, announcing that it has developed a home rental loan scheme and that it will be raising the minimum wage of its staff above and beyond the government minimum.
The high-street coffee chain revealed that its Home Sweet Loan scheme ( rental loan scheme) , which was developed in partnership with housing charity Shelter, was created to combat the ever-rising costs of renting across the UK – most notably the deposits that people must put down just to get their temporary home in the first place.
It was revealed that England’s average rental deposit is £1,226 – though this naturally rises in cities, particularly London – and this was a growing problem in the eyes of Starbucks. The scheme will be made available to employees working with the company for over a year, and the maximum loan will be equivalent to one month’s wages; the employee will pay this back over the course of one year.
President of Starbucks’ European division, Kris Engskov, explained: “We know the cost of living is a key concern for many and with over half our staff being under 25 years old, rent affordability affects them.”
Additionally, the company also revealed that it would start paying its UK staff the living wage from next spring, effectively ushering in a pay rise for 4,500 employees across the country. With it, Starbucks will pay all staff the minimum wage of £7.20, as opposed to those aged 25 and over. Given that over half of its employees are below this age, it stands to benefit a huge number of workers.
Welcoming the move was Business Secretary Sajid Javid. He said: “Every part of Britain should benefit from our growing economy and now is the right time to ensure fairer pay for low wage workers.
“So it’s hugely welcome to see that Starbucks is extending the National Living Wage to all of its staff. The new National Living Wage is expected to reach £9 an hour by 2020 and will benefit six million workers.”
However, not everyone has welcomed the government’s plans rental loan scheme. Earlier in the month, Tim Martin – chairman of Wetherspoons – said that more pubs will close because of this rise, as the move to raise wages would putting additional financial pressure on pubs, particularly in less-affluent areas.