Labour Parliamentary candidate Cat Smith has pledged her support to Fair Pay Fortnight and voiced her anger at the Government for presiding over a cost of living crisis in Lancaster and Fleetwood.
Fair Pay Fortnight runs from16 February to 1 March 2015 and aims to draw attention to low pay in the United Kingdom. Figures released by the Trade Union Congress this week show that nearly one in four jobs (24.9%) in the Lancaster and Fleetwood Parliamentary constituency pay less than the living wage. For part-time jobs the figure rises to more than one in three (36.8%).
The living wage is the hourly amount it is calculated an individual needs to earn to cover the basic costs of living. It currently stands at £7.85 an hour, £1.35 higher than the current minimum wage for those over 21 of £6.50.
Separate figures show that average annual full-time pay in the North West has fallen by £2,461 in real terms since 2010.
Speaking on the subject Cat Smith said “The extent of the cost of living crisis faced by working people in Lancaster and Fleetwood is deeply worrying. Wages have fallen dramatically in 2010 while the number of zero-hours contracts and other forms of insecure employment have increased. It is little wonder that the Trussell Trust have identified low-pay as one of the primary reasons for food-bank referrals.”
“By pursuing policies such as successive real terms cuts to the minimum wage and introducing fees for employment tribunals the responsibility for this unacceptable state of affairs lies squarely with this Government. We desperately need a change. Lancaster and Fleetwood needs a pay-rise. Labour is committed to increasing the minimum wage to £8 an hour, supporting living wage employers and ending exploitative zero hours contracts. In May we have the opportunity elect a Government that will deliver achievements that we can celebrate during Fair Pay Fortnight next year.”