Sharon White portrait in Waitrose

Source: Waitrose

John Lewis Partnership chairman Sharon White has been vocal about the retailer’s financial struggles amid the cost of living crisis

The John Lewis Partnership has said the number of staff using its financial support fund is up from last year amid the cost of living crisis.

While Waitrose’s parent company does not reveal how many employees use the fund each year, it has confirmed the number is up this year compared with 2021, in the height of the pandemic.

The JLP’s financial assistance fund helps workers struggling to pay their bills via grants and interest-free loans. The business doubled the cash pot earlier this year, from £400,000 to £800,000, to provide extra support to its partners in the face of record-high inflation and hiking living costs.

Chairman Sharon White recently told the BBC the partnership was trying to “balance how do we ensure our partners are able to cope with the cost of living whilst also thinking about the affordability of pay for the business”.

Earlier this year, the JLP brought back its employee bonus back after halting the popular scheme during the pandemic. It paid a bonus of 3% to its 80,000 workers in its past financial year.

Additionally, it upped staff wages in line with the real living wage, which is set at £9.90 an hour outside London and £11.05 per hour in the capital.