It is good to see that there is support among Lewes residents (letter from Dee O’Connell, August 8) for the idea of a living wage for all.
It is unjust that people doing socially vital jobs like caring for the elderly should be unable to make a living even on long hours.
Indeed it is unjust that anyone working a full week should still need extra benefits from the state to enable them to rent decent home or bring up their children above the poverty level. A full-time worker on the minimum wage takes home around £1,000 per month - and who can afford to live on that in Lewes? No wonder care homes cannot get the staff they need. Particularly shocking are the appalling rates for under-21s (£5.03 - often for doing exactly the same work) and apprentices (£2.73p/h after the rise in October).
That is why a key element of Green Party policy is to demand a living wage for all. Once again we can look at the fine example of Green-led Brighton & Hove council where Greens brought in a living wage for all council employees and have set up a Living Wage Commission to encourage employers across the city to do the same. Indeed Green councillors in Lewes tried to introduce a motion asking for all town council staff to be paid a living wage, as a first step to setting an example to be followed by Lewes businesses. Sadly our efforts were blocked by another political party on the council.
Needless to say we will be campaigning to bring in a living wage as part of our manifesto for next year’s local (and parliamentary) elections. If re-elected I would bring a new motion to the town council and one to LDC too if elected to that body. So if you want to take steps towards a socially just society where everyone gets a living wage the answer is clear. Vote Green in 2015 for the common good.
Lewes Green Party