Labour leader Ed Miliband has announced that his Party are committed to creating a "living wage" should they win the next general election in the UK. He has said that it would be at least £7.45 an hour. With the way UK prices are going at the moment it will need to be a fair bit higher to keep people out of poverty.
It is not just Labour though who are calling for a living wage rather than a minimum wage. London's Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson has voiced his support for the current living wage campaign. As Boris has said it makes economic sense to pay a decent wage. If you are paid that little bit more you may spend more and so help the economy. It is not rocket science, is it?
According to the BBC, "The so-called London Living Wage, which was introduced in 2005 and is calculated on the basis of the cost of living, has risen to £8.55. The wage is not binding on any firm but up to 200 employers back the scheme, benefiting 11,500 workers since 2005."
That is much more than the actual minimum wage. Right now it stands at:
Mr Miliband has said that a Labour Living wage would see Whitehall contracts only being awarded to employers who paid the "living wage" He went as far as to say that employers who do not would be named and shamed.
Downing Street claim to support the principle of the living wage but maintain that "restricting contracts would be illegal" If it really suited the government though they would change the law.
A living wage should be the very least that people earn. Yes it would help boost the economy and encourage people to spend. It makes employees less reliant on top up benefits also.
This blogger would just like to point out though that many public sector workers around the UK are not being paid the "living wage". With an ongong public sector pay freeze salaries are falling way behind inflation. Bear in mind that even basic jobs in the public sector may follow a pay banding scale. An employee may be paid £8 plus an hour once they have worked in their role for 5 years but as a new employee they will be paid much less.
So how can Downing Street maintain that they support the living wage? Do they mean that they do as long as it is in the Private sector? When you consider that the pay freeze is down to Cameron and Chancellor Osborne they have a funny way of showing support for the Living Wage. Pull the other one springs to mind.
Based in Yorkshire, in the middle of the UK, almost, this blogger offers her own unique perspective on life in GB
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