Friday, 23 January 2015

Tackling low pay and encouraging the Living Wage

After spending years saying that there was no cost of living crisis, last week David Cameron said that Britain deserves a pay rise - a huge admission of failure. The recovery may have reached the City of London, but it hasn't reached the kitchen tables of working people around the country. We are now approaching the end of the first Parliament since the 1920s in which people will be worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

So here are some facts about pay under David Cameron: 
  • Since the last election average wages have fallen by £1,600 a year with the number getting less than the Living Wage rising from 3.4 million to 4.9 million.
  • Last year company directors' rewards increased by 21%. A director in a FTSE 100 company now earns on average 130 times more than their average employee – and 300 times more than the Living Wage. 
  • The Government has cut taxes for people earning £150,000 a year even while salaries at the top have been soaring away and ordinary workers’ wages have fallen. And if the Tories win the election, they want to cut taxes for millionaires even further.
The next Labour Government will raise the National Minimum Wage so that it gets closer to average earnings every year – rising to more than £8 before 2020.

But it is not just the legal minimum that matters. Labour believes government can do more to work with employers to pay the Living Wage. And firms that can afford to pay multi-million pound salaries at the top need to explain why they will not pay the Living Wage to those at the bottom.

Some 30 Labour local authorities are now paying the Living Wage to their staff. 

The next Labour Government will do more to encourage the Living Wage at the bottom and shed light on the pay packages given to some at the top.  

We will: 
  • Introduce Make Work Pay contracts, with a tax rebate for employers that sign up to become Living Wage employers in the first year of the next Parliament.
  • Ensure that central government learns the lessons from local government in where firms seeking public sector contracts are required to pay the Living Wage.
  • Require companies to publish the ratio of the pay of their top earner compared to the average employee and the pay packages of the 10 highest paid employees outside the boardroom.
  • Put an employee representative on remuneration committees, ensuring the views of ordinary staff are heard when decisions to award top pay packages are made.
Tackling low pay and encouraging the Living Wage is one of the ways the next Labour Government can ensure everyone’s hard work is rewarded and we build real and enduring prosperity. 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Tory election launch ignores their NHS crisis

Labour Party: The Tories are launching their election campaign today - and the NHS isn't part of it.

Last week's A and E figures exposed the worst week the NHS has experienced in living memory, with record numbers waiting over four hours to be seen, and hospitals around the country declaring "major incident" status. With the NHS so important to everyone in this country, and the Tory NHS crisis worsening day after day, it's a staggering omission by David Cameron to fail to make the NHS one of his six election themes.

On the deficit David Cameron has broken his promise to balance the books because he has failed to deliver rising living standards for all. Working people are worse off under the Tories and that's why the tax revenues needed to get the deficit down have fallen short.

The Tories have abandoned the centre-ground with an extreme plan for even deeper spending cuts which would take public spending back to a share of national income last seen in the 1930s, when there was no NHS and children left school at 14.

Labour will cut the deficit every year and get the current budget into surplus and national debt falling as soon as possible in the next Parliament.

Our tough but balanced plan is different from the Tories' extreme and ideological approach. Alongside sensible spending cuts we will reverse David Cameron's tax cut for millionaires and tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

And we'll raise £2.5 billion for a Time to Care Fund for the NHS, funded by a mansion tax on homes worth over £2 million, by clamping down on tax avoidance schemes and by a new levy on tobacco companies.

That's the only way to balance the books in a fair way while protecting our NHS.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Great news old stables @ Haworth Art Gallery to be refurbished (£552,000 HLF).

Great news old stables at Haworth Art Gallery to be refurbished with £552,000 HLF. I have supported and encouraged local Labour councillors in seeking to improve this fantastic asset


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Why I disagree with a Lancashire wide Combined Authority.

@GrahamJones_MP: I disagree with this proposal and so do the vast majority of people in East Lancashire.

It is my intention alongside many other people in East Lancashire to oppose this proposal because it works against the interests of ordinary people in East Lancashire. 

Accrington Observer story here.