Ed urges living wage, but Sir Robin isn’t listening

6 Jun

Today Ed Miliband made his big speech on social security reform. He did so at Newham Dockside, the £110 million headquarters of Newham council.

He talked – rightly – about reducing the social security bill by increasing the number of people in work and by making sure that work pays. Too many employers rely on the taxpayer to subsidise poverty wages. People need to be able to earn a living wage.

Today, people often don’t get paid enough in work to make ends meet.

And the taxpayer is left picking up the bill for low pay.
 We must change our economy, so that welfare is not a substitute for good employment and decent jobs…

Today in Britain almost three million men and women and almost one and half million children live in families that are going to work and are still not able to escape poverty.

People doing the right thing, trying to support themselves and their children.

The last Labour government took action on this, and was right to provide tax credits for those in work. 

But we didn’t do enough to tackle Britain’s low wage economy, a low wage economy that just leaves the taxpayer facing greater and greater costs subsidising employers…

We will do everything in our power to promote the living wage.

If local councils can say “if you want a contract with the council then you need to pay the living wage,”  then central government should look at doing that too.

Absolutely right. But his point was embarrassingly undermined by his choice of venue. Despite Labour having 100% control of the council, Newham is not a Living Wage Accredited Employer.

This is a disgrace. Our councillors should be embarrassed. And ashamed.

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