LETTER: Well done council for Living Wage

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Horsham Labour Party welcomes Horsham District Council’s decision to abolish the lowest pay band in its current pay structure.

We have been informed by the council leader, Ray Dawe, that under the recently approved restructuring of staff terms and conditions, all employees on the lowest band will be moved up one level, so ensuring that all HDC employees receive the Living Wage as a minimum, with effect from the new financial year.

This may not in reality make a huge difference to many people but it is significant in its recognition of the impact of the cost of living crisis on low paid workers in the south East. This crisis has seen many of those who receive the poverty pay rate that is the current Minimum Wage struggling to meet the spiralling costs of household bills.

So well done, Horsham council, for taking this step, but in order to make a really positive difference, you need to do more.

Firstly, you should require all those that tender for council work to pay their employees no less than the Living Wage. This would not only ensure that everyone that works for the council receives a decent rate of pay, but would also set an examples to other local businesses, many of which pay less than the minimum required to maintain an acceptable standard of living.

At a recent council meeting an overpaid consultant congratulated the district for having above average levels of productivity per head of population. He suggested that this would attract more businesses to Horsham.

In simple terms, this indicator means that Horsham has a low pay economy. We believe that this is not something to celebrate. We think those working and seeking work in Horsham would much rather, in the face of the current cost of living crisis, welcome businesses that provide levels of pay that enable them to comfortably provide for themselves and their families.

Our next request is that Horsham District Council puts the needs of those working to maintain the local economy before the needs of the national and multi-national developers who seem to have so much influence on our planning process.

We need a local plan that will deliver affordable housing for local people, not massive profits for big business. The Tory councillors running Horsham council have failed to deliver for far too long, leading us to wonder in whose interests they operate. A local plan would redress the balance between the developers wishes and those of local communities.

It’s time for our Tory councillors to show that they are willing to deliver on behalf of the people that they represent. There should be no further delay in the production of the plan.

CAROL HAYTON

Horsham Labour Party, Clarence Road, Horsham