LETTER: Support Living Wage campaign

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This week is Living Wage Week, with campaigns across the country, including here in Horsham.

A Living Wage is calculated so an adult who works in full time employment has sufficient income to be able to provide an adequate level of warmth and shelter, a healthy diet, social integration and avoidance of chronic stress.

Figures issued this week show almost six million people are paid less than the living wage. Of all working women, 29 per cent earn less than the living wage. Many of these people are also on zero hour contracts with all the additional insecurity that those bring. Others work long shifts or unsociable hours, yet still find that 50 per cent of their income is needed just to pay the rent.

The rate for the Living Wage is £7.85 outside London for all workers. This is not to be confused with George Osborne’s re-branded minimum wage which is set at £7.20 for over 25s from next April. Those aged 21-24 have a rate of £6.70 and those 18-20 a mere £5.30. Could you live in Horsham on that?

Many businesses could afford to pay their employees a Living Wage. Evidence shows that it has an advantage for employers in terms of lower staff turnover and recruitment costs and in improved productivity. Paying staff well helps money to circulate in the local economy, supporting each other’s businesses.

I support the Campaign for Living Wage Horsham and I hope that many businesses will come forward to become accredited organisations and enable their employees to have a better quality of life.

FRANCES HAIGH

Chair of Horsham and Crawley Liberal Democrats, Winterbourne, Horsham

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