Sunday, 9 June 2013

A Living Wage or more child poverty

Kent Green Party supports a Living Wage policy. Stuart Jeffery, Chair of Kent Green Party, explains why the Party is writing again to all local councils in Kent ask them to become Living Wage employers and to encourage private sector employers to join in:
“Government policies have led to more than one in four children living in poverty(1). Kent Green Party supports a Living Wage as a response to the declining incomes of the poorest fifth of households. Kent Greens want all employers to pay a minimum wage of £7.45 per hour. Kent County Council is one of the worst offenders, paying over 1200 staff less than the living wage of £7.45 per hour(2). A Living Wage is based on the principle of being set and maintained at 60% of net national average earnings(3). This policy would reduce benefits going to poor families with at least one earner(4), and means more money would go into local economies. Kent Green Party wants local councils to lead a campaign by adopting Living Wage policies themselves and strongly encouraging employers to do the same.
“Kent Green Party recognises that austerity policies have had more impact on women than men (5). A Living Wage can contribute to changing this.
 “A Living Wage should be an essential element of the forward planning of our local councils and all other Kent employers. Local Green parties throughout the country have joined in campaigns for a Living Wage, and London Mayor Boris Johnson is a leading supporter(6).”
Ends c 258 words
FURTHER INFORMATION: Stuart Jeffery, Chair of Kent Green Party, on 0797 0436 029. Contact address as above. Published by Kent Green Party and promoted by H.Dawe, both at 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF.
Notes:
1.      SEE Child Poverty Action Group: http://www.cpag.org.uk/child-poverty-facts-and-figures
2.      Freedom of Information response from Kent County Council to Kent Green Party: copy available on request to greenparty@gn.apc.org
3.      SEE: http://www.livingwage.org.uk/
4.      There are about 6.1 million people living in families with at least one earner who remain in poverty due to low wages. This is more than the 5.1 million living in workless families. SEE: joint churches report  The lies we tell ourselves: ending comfortable myths about poverty, p.13.
5.      Peter Taylor-Gooby  The Double Crisis of the Welfare State and what we can do about it (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp10-11.
6.      Local Green Parties have been at the forefront of Living Wage campaigning in England: Camden, Lewisham and Lambeth in London and Sheffield have all introduced local Living Wage policies as a result of campaigning by Green Party councillors eg. http://camden.greenparty.org.uk/localsites/camden/news/Introduce-London-Living-Wage-for-Camen-Council-contractors-now.html & http://sheffieldgreenparty.org.uk/2010/02/02/living-wage-without-delay/ Living Wage policies were introduced in London as a result of Green Party Members of the Greater London Assembly successfully lobbying the previous Mayor, who set up a Living Wage Unit. In 2007, Oxford Green councillors succeeded in passing a Council motion to bring in a Living Wage of £7 for Council workers, and are now pushing to have this extended to contractors as well. http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2008-10-24-younggreens.html Brighton and Hove Green Party’s Budget for their Council for 2011-2012 included planning for a Living Wage: http://www.brightonhovegreens.org/assets/files/localparties/brighton/publications/Greenalternativebrightonbudget2011web.pdf

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