LETTER: Make Horsham a Living Wage town

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During recent weeks Lidl and then Morrisons became the first supermarket chains to commit to paying the Living Wage.

Rhys Moore, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said, ‘This is a massive breakthrough in the Living Wage campaign, and proves that paying staff a real Living Wage, is possible on the British high street. It sets a challenge to the rest of the UK supermarket sector, that has until now claimed that paying staff the Living Wage is just not possible.’

The challenge set by a major retailer could and should make a really positive difference to Horsham, a town that currently has no Living Wage employers in the supermarket sector.

The difference could not only benefit workers in retail but across the other key employment sectors within Horsham, such as care, hospitality , agriculture and restaurant trade.

Working for a Living Wage employer ensures that all employees 18 years and above are paid a minimum of £7.85 an hour.

In a town such as Horsham, where housing and living costs put a real strain on the budgets of people working in the local economy, there has never been a greater need for employers to pay the Living Wage. That is why we are launching our campaign to make Horsham a Living Wage Town.

Backed by the Living Wage Foundation, this campaign will highlight those local employers that currently pay a Living Wage as their minimum pay band, provide supporter to those who seek to obtain Living Wage Employer accreditation and encourage others to do so.

Employers setting their minimum pay band at the level of the Living Wage, deliver benefits not only to their employees but to their business as well.

Studies have shown that Living Wage employers benefit from an enhanced quality of work by staff, reduction in absenteeism and improved recruitment and retention.

The latter being particularly important to those sectors of the Horsham economy which are experiencing real difficulties in filling vacant posts.

Those working for a Living Wage Employer are afforded the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families without relying on in-work benefits, they experience greater job satisfaction and improved levels of skills and training.

All this has to be good for our local economy which needs to attract high quality workers in order to survive. And for many consumers the opportunity to buy products and services from a Living Wage employer is an important consideration when deciding where to shop.

We intend our Living Wage Horsham campaign to be community driven and we are seeking support to take this project forward from individuals, community groups, churches and charities. We have already gained the support of the London Road Methodist Church and the Curate of St Mary’s Church, the Rev Jimmy Young.

Please contact us if you would like to join the campaign, pledge your support to Make Horsham a Living Wage Town or you would like to know more about how your organisation can become A Living Wage Accredited employer.

Email david.hide1@btinternet.com

DAVID HIDE

Co-ordinator, Make Horsham a Living Wage Town, Clarence Road, Horsham

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