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The Living Wage

Good morning.

I am no politician and I am no business women either but today I want to talk about something that seems so obvious to me that concerns both.
From today, changes are taking place that will many affect many people in relation to their incomes and standards of living. For many, these changes will bring even more hardship, stress and unhappiness for many people having to rely on the State to help them live in terms of income.

The government think these cuts are fair, as they don’t want to continue a culture where being trapped in the Welfare State ensnare people into poverty. Apparently, a crucial factor to be out of poverty is to be out of its benefits culture, to be independent and to be free. Plus it argues, the welfare budget has to be chopped due to enormous spiralling costs which the ordinary tax payer can’t be expected to pay. In a way they are saying, do the maths and the sums don’t add up. You could say that is reasonable.

Well, I am not a mathematician either but to me one of the key answers is to create wealth and my simple formula goes something like this.

If you pay people a wage that they can actually live on, then they can pay their own council tax, rent or mortgage. They can go to the shops and spend a little on consumer goods. This means that business benefits from their spending. Tax is generated from their shopping with VAT and businesses may start to see a little more profit on their spread sheets. This means businesses who are struggling may struggle less, which means they can pay their bank or their creditors the money they owe. Meanwhile, the government who have generated more income tax by higher wages have more in the treasury pot to play with and can start to look at its own debt and spending needs. Businesses productivity is increased and the need for new jobs. More jobs, more income tax and so forth. The spiral goes on.

In the meantime, people start to feel a bit  happier, can begin to feed themselves properly- buy less horse meet at a £1 for eight burgers and actually start to feel better; loosing some weight may be (obesity epidemic, major health crisis) and eating a few fresh fruit and vegetables. Children can actually go to school with breakfast inside them perhaps and be more productive in the classroom. Existing health-conditions caused by stress ( I don’t know of any chronic disability not affected by stress) may actually ease a little.The country feels more upbeat and the Government of the day may not be seen as quite the Mr Nasty anymore. I could go on and, anyway, many people are saying this already, nothing new here really.

Ah, you say, but there is a problem and I know exactly what you are going to say. Businesses can’t afford the cost of paying people a living wage. Yes, for many small businesses this is true. My own brother, only last week, has had to let his 15 year old shop business go under because of an inflated renewal of a shop lease he could not pay. less people not coming into his shop to buy greetings cards. His lease holder, unfortunately, could not be sensible enough to give my brother a fair deal given his dwindling takings. He just wanted an ever huger slice of money from rent ( typical property owner!!??). My brother could not give him that rise of double the rent. Now there is another empty shop in the high street somewhere and both people have lost out. He and his wife are another two statistics about to “sign on” and get £111 a week as a couple. He is not one of the so called scroungers either. he has worked all his life and is in his late fifties.

So yes, from his conversations, I know how hard it is to give people a living wage who are in business. But he tells me that not only this government but the last government too taxed small businesses to death and to help them we need to give them a break. This government needs to help ease the burden that small companies face. 

Now to wealth distribution: there are big companies with massive profits. Tesco is one such company, along with other supermarket chains, and we all know how little their workers get, with fewer full-time paid jobs to go with it. Could the government not legislate that for those companies, with an turn over of X billions, that they should see less profit for the few at the top and more wealth distribution for the workers at the bottom? Ah, but that would squash a free-market enterprise! Big money would take off oversees. Well, we have to put people first before big money I am afraid. Simple as that!

This all seems, perhaps, a bit of an Utopian and simplistic view or perhaps rather a socialist position. Well, I am not a socialist, in fact that is the scary bit. I don’t know whether I really trust in any of the main stream parties anymore, there lies the danger. When there is discontent extremism can flourish. I am not saying we are going to have a revolution but this is where more extreme parties can take a hold. Recent By-election results? I think you get it.

So don’t be a April Fool Mr Government. If you want any chance of surviving- currently you are on life support, then start having an agenda to start paying people a real living wage. Don’t try and tell us that by taking us off Welfare, that the very nature of that decision will makes us suddenly not poor anymore because we are not in receipt of it( Yesterday’s BBC news). People on the minimum wage are poor and they can work 80 hours a week and will still be poor, especially if they are on their own with children. I know them, I speak with them. People who can’t genuinely work because of disability can’t work. Don’t take away the main life- line they have had. We are supposed to be a fair and civilized society arent’t we? Nothing civilized or fair about this is there!! Wake up and start listening to the people who voted you in. We can easily vote you OUT!




Committed to the education of children and the health and human rights of women and mankind. I also enjoy taking photographs and sometimes I write poetry.

2 thoughts on “The Living Wage

  1. Makes perfect sense doesn’t it? And if the governments aim was to help the people, all people then this would be the kind of agenda they would be following but sadly it is not. It is about power, those who have the power making themselves more powerful at the cost of the many.
    I have come sadly to realise that this and even maybe successive governments are not there to help the people or even the country, they are there to help themselves.
    The way forward? There won’t be one until government is once more made up of ordinary men and women that are able to relate to the struggles of ordinary citizens.
    I do believe we are heading for some kind of revolution as even the quietest man will only be pushed so far, when our homes, our children and our very existence is threatened we will come out fighting.
    Fairness, care and compassion are no longer words you will hear in parliament but even more frightening they are seldom heard in public either as each man/woman looks only at their own plight whilst following the governments pointing finger without question.
    Thank you for writing this as it shows you are giving it some thought and not hiding away hoping they will leave you alone, we all need to consider what’s happening and when we see it is wrong we all need to stand together to say so.

  2. A really good reply Penny and thank you. You can get so easily bogged down in your own world of troubles and not look beyond your own borders. We do need to all stand together on this. It is no good puting our head in the sand and say, “let’s hope it does not come knocking on our door.” The knock may well come and then we will be standing to afraid to open it, for the consequences are too awful to contemplate.

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