Labour’s Brighton and Hove candidates at the next general election and the party’s local leader have pledged to make Brighton and Hove a Living Wage city.
The move follows an announcement on Monday (3 November) that the living wage was rising from £7.65 an hour to £7.85.
The four politicians welcomed the rise, which will mean more pay for thousands of people in Brighton and Hove.
But they said that more action was needed to ensure more people in Brighton and Hove benefited from a living wage.
The four are parliamentary candidates Nancy Platts (Brighton Kemptown), Purna Sen (Brighton Pavilion) and Peter Kyle (Hove) and Warren Morgan, the Labour group leader on Brighton and Hove City Council.
They said that despite the welcome increase in employers seeking living wage accreditation, low pay was a growing problem in our city.
They cited research released last week showing 5.2 million people in Britain were now officially categorised as low paid – earning below two thirds of the median.
In Brighton and Hove, that worked out at about one in five people on low pay.
And, they said, women and young people tended to be the worst affected.
If they win office next May the four politicians promised that they would push for three measures to increase the number of living wage employers in Brighton and Hove.
First, they would push for a Labour government to introduce tax rebates for those companies that signed up to become living wage employers in the first year after the general election.
This would be paid for from the resulting higher tax receipts and the savings from lower social security payments.
Second, the council would do all it could to spread the living wage through the way in which it buys in services from outside contractors and providers.
This would be a key element of the work of a Labour council’s Fairness Commission and integral to plans for more apprenticeships.
Third, the Labour Party in Brighton and Hove would campaign alongside like-minded organisations such as the Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce.
This would include finding ways to celebrate those employers that paid the living wage while encouraging others to sign up.