Paying living wage makes sense

Next week sees the launch of the Living Wage Week, which is urging the introduction of a “living wage” of £7.20/hour (£8.30/hour in London).

Research shows that across the UK, nigh on five million, or one-in-five, workers and their families have an inadequate standard of living because they are being paid less than the living wage. That works out to more than 20,000 workers and their families here in Calderdale. A truly shocking state of affairs.

Although national minimum wages were first introduced in New Zealand in 1894, it was to be more than a century later that Tony Blair’s first government passed the relevant legislation. Even then, it was strongly opposed by both the CBI and the Conservatives, fearing that it would hit employment figures.

However, study after study has shown that there is no noticeable effect on employment levels. Furthermore, paying a living wage does not actually cost an employer much more and yet makes a huge difference to the individuals and their families.

Finally, tax-payers in general benefit, because when businesses adopt a living wage, thousands of low-paid workers take less tax credits. The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates there are up to £6bn savings to be made.

This is why the Labour Group on Calderdale Council has joined a long list of over 100 top employers, companies, who have made a public commitment to the living wage.

Coun Nader Fekri JP, Calder ward, CMBC