Call for living wage to ease benefits bill
Workers in Crawley should be paid the ‘living wage’ in order to ease the benefits bill, a councillor has argued.
Around 25 per cent of the town’s population receive some benefits, according to Cllr Liam Marshall-Ascough (Con, Southgate), chair of the financial deprivation scrutiny panel at Crawley Borough Council. He said if business paid a living wage workers on the breadline would no longer need benefits.
Cllr Marshall-Ascough said: “In Crawley the equivalent of all the residents of Ifield are on tax credits. This means their wages are not enough to pay for the basic costs of living. So we’re looking at encouraging companies to pay the living wage so their staff receive a decent salary and don’t need top-ups.”
The living wage is the minimum income needed to pay for housing, clothing, food, utilities and travel. The UK living wage is calculated at £7.45 per hour, while the national minimum wage for over 20s is £6.19.
Cllr Marshall-Ascough said: “We will get companies to sign up and others will stand out if they don’t sign up. At the end of the day it’s about doing the right thing.”
Cllr Michael Jones (Lab, Bewbush), vice chair of the scrunity panel, said Cllr Marshall-Ascough had previously tried to disband the panel which would have left no scope for the council to look at the living wage.
Cllr Jones said: “While I welcome any support for the principle of a Living Wage, it does look like Cllr Marshall-Ascough is trying to take credit for the idea some time after it was originally proposed and supported by Crawley Labour councillors.”
Labour councillors will propose a resolution to introduce the living wage at tonight’s full council meeting (Febuary 27).
Gatwick Diamond Business chair Jeremy Taylor said wages in the area were decent. He said: “There’s an interesting hypocrisy in society in saying we want everyone paid well but everyone to have a bargain as well. A pound shop is only a pound shop because people in other countries don’t earn a living wage.”
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Weather for Crawley
Friday 24 May 2013
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