16 August 2013

Where there is no vision, the people perish Proverbs 29.18

The living wage is an issue that isn’t going away. It stands a rebuke to Cornwall Council until it is adopted and then effected. Its absence stands a challenge to all those who claim to be the sons and daughters of progress and reform, social and financial justice, and fairness but who do nothing with effect about this wage.

John Sentamu, archbishop of York, put it capitally: “At the end of the day what workers really need is pay not platitudes” (Observer 20 July 2013). It is not enough for parties to manifesto their support and then fall silent; they should push and push and push Cornwall Council to commit to the wage and urgently explore how it can be implemented. They should be actively campaigning about this. Social democracy is about effecting change.

The living wage cannot be implemented all at once in Cornwall Council. Council funds are short and getting shorter. It will be several years before we are out of the financial tightness. Paying the living wage is not an easy shovelling of money to the low paid and I am arguing for a commitment now and an exploration of how it can be effected, what a feasible timetable would be, what the feasible stages would be.

The living wage is not largess. Everyone who works at Cornwall Council should be paid a decent wage, a wage that enables you to live not grandly but carefully and decently, a living wage; no one should fall outside that.

Cornwall Council should give a decisive lead on this to employers in the county.

Seventy eight councils in England, 114 in Britain, pay or are committed to pay the living wage (GMB media report 5 June 2013). Perhaps Cornwall Council could look at how others successfully do this.

The previous posts on the living wage are here

Living wage for Cornwall 22 July 2013

Cheers, Jude Robinson 29 October 2012

A proper Cornish wage 10 May 2012

Progress to a living wage 29 June 2011

A living wage for Cornwall 17 May 2011

The pro-Cornish wage 31 August 2010

And these are relevant

Home truths by Vidhya ALEKESON and Giselle CORY, Resolution Foundation 12 July 2013

Low pay Britain by Matthew PENNYCOOK and Matthew WHITTAKER, Resolution Foundation 29 September 2012

What price a living wage? Matthew PENNYCOOK, Resolution Foundation 7 May 2012

Minimum wage: maximum impact Alan MANNING, Resolution Foundation 17 April 2012