In the Youth Parliament ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot, 175,389 young people throughout the UK, and almost 2,000 young people in Suffolk, agreed that “the national minimum wage should be raised in line with the living wage, as calculated by the centre for research in social policy, in order to guarantee workers the decent standard of living they deserve”.
Through the Raise the Wage Campaign, Suffolk UK Youth Parliament will be asking Suffolk County Council, and respective Borough Councils to become Living Wage employers and to ensure that all their contractors are the same. They will also ask Local Councils to promote the campaign to local businesses and will be asking MPs to support the campaign.
Saturday 24th January 2015 has been announced as National Day of Action, where Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) will engage with MPs and Councillors through a range of campaign actions.
Living Wage is defined as an independently set hourly rate, calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. It is currently set at £7.85 nationally and at £9.15 for London. It is different from the national minimum wage, which is the minimum pay per hour which almost all workers are entitled to. Currently in the UK 5.2 Million people (22% of the Workforce) are paid less than the Living Wage.
Why does Youth Parliament care about this issue?
We believe everybody should earn enough to be able to have a decent standard of living and afford the basic necessities in life. There are clear impacts of not receiving a Living Wage:
- Young people: Young people are currently not valued the same as working adults and may not be paid enough to live. Providing the Living Wage would allow young people to not just survive but thrive and fulfil their potential. This is especially the case of employed young people who live independently.
- Families: Parents/guardians not being paid the Living Wage may affect the provision in the household and opportunities available to their children, both in terms of education and socially. If parents/guardians are not paid the Living Wage, they may also be forced to take on two jobs which will negatively impact the amount of time they are able to spend with their children and other areas of family life. Parents/guardians who are paid the Living Wage will improve mental well-being and this in turn benefits the family.
- Businesses: Evidence suggests that paying the Living Wage enhances the quality of work of staff and reduces absenteeism.
National Day of Action
If you are an employer or an employee in Suffolk and are paying/paid the living wage, we’d really like to hear from you and how this has impacted on your life. We would also like to hear from you if you are paid less than the living wage and the impact this has on your life.
Amber Spearing, Suffolk Youth Parliament Support Worker