Living wage can help us rebuild Britain as One Nation

Published on Monday, 05 November 2012 11:16
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, will today meet with leaders of Labour local authorities across Britain who are implementing the Living Wage and discuss the next steps of this campaign with some of the employees who have benefitted.

In remarks later this morning, Ed Miliband MP is expected to say:

"There are almost five million people in Britain who aren't earning enough the living wage; people who got up early this morning, spent hours getting to work - who are putting in all the effort they can - but who often don't get paid enough to look after their families, to heat their homes, feed their kids, care for elderly relatives and plan for the future.

"Too many people in Britain are doing the right thing and doing their bit, helping to build the prosperity on which our country depends, but aren't sharing fairly in the rewards.

"It's not how it should be in Britain, it's not how we will succeed as a country in the years ahead because we can't go on with an economy that works for a few at the top and not for most people. We need to change it.

"This Government is stuck in the old mindset: saying nothing can be done and making it worse with tax cuts for millionaires and tax rises for everyone else. It is only a Labour government that will address the living standards crisis faced by so many.

"Even when money is tight and Britain is run by a Tory-led government, Labour councils have been driving the Living Wage forward. First in London and now across Britain.

"The next step is to help more people have the dignity of earning a Living Wage: to move this beyond the great councils and businesses that have already made the change to those that have yet to do so.

"Britain needs a government that will work with the best of British business to build greater prosperity and share it more fairly. That is what One Nation is about. The living wage is an important part of helping to make that happen. It is an idea whose time has come.

"As the Labour Party continues with its policy review, we are looking at a series of ideas about how to take this further forward to see what the next Labour government can do to help. It's not about making spending commitments, it's about learning from our experience in local government and listening to the best businesses in the country.

"There are already scores of British businesses who are saying that the living wage makes sense from them because it improves staff retention and reduces absence rates. We will learn from them and find ways to help other businesses become living wage employers.

"We need to build an economy where everyone has a stake, not where millions of people feel they never have a chance for a decent life however hard they work.

"An economy where prosperity is fairly shared, not where the rewards for success are passed to some who play their part and not to others, but where we all come together as a country to overcome the challenges we face.

"We need an economy that would help us to rebuild Britain as One Nation, not where it so often feels like we live apart, in two.

"It won't be easy: it will require us all to play our part; shareholders and workers, public sector and private sector, business and government.

"The campaign for a living wage is a central part of it."

Source: ©Labour

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