Barbara Light: Pleased to see the adoption of Living Wage

Walden, we have a problem!

There are some shocking low pay statistics across Britain involving more than one in five workers in a wide variety of sectors: for example, in sectors such as wholesale and retail 41% are low paid whilst in hotel and food this rises to 70%.

Locally, a quick scan of this week’s available jobs (very few!) shows two offering £7/hour in the food sector and one offering £25,000 p.a. for a manager in the health sector. The same paper advertises the cheapest property rental at £595/month and the cheapest purchase at £107,500 for a studio (most expensive is over 2 million quid!). No wonder we have a problem, Walden, when local people can’t afford to work and live here!

So, I was really pleased to see that UDC has proposed the adoption of the Living Wage (set at £7.85/hour outside of London) for its council workers – 15 of whom are currently paid below this amount. This means £1.35 more than the minimum wage, which is not a huge sum, but at least there is some recognition that people need to be properly paid for their work. This is a small start, but we have to change the overall picture and boost our economy with jobs that pay and houses in which locals can afford to live so that instead of saying: Walden, we have a problem, we will be able to say: we have lift-off! Can’t wait…

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