Conservatives have always backed those who want to get on in life, roll up their sleeves and do a hard day's work. We always have and we always will. That's why I want Wales to lead the charge on being the first living wage country of the UK and I'm proud that it's Welsh Conservatives who are the ones doing it.
Given the positive reaction both Chelsea and West Ham fans have had to their clubs' support of the living wage, it's hard to understand why this is such a battle. A survey for the GMB union found that 84% of football supporters want Premier League and Football League clubs to pay their staff a wage they can live on. It's the right thing to do, and the goodwill that paying the living wage would create would be huge. Making sure people are paid a decent wage is not just the right thing to do, it's good for working families, it's good for business and it's good for the economy.
It isn't hard to find evidence of income inequality in the UK. One easy way of showing the blatant inequality in our society is by comparing the rises in NMW against the raises of CEO salaries over the same time period. If the NMW had risen at the same rate a CEO's salaries then the NMW would now be a whopping £19 p/h. With that in mind, a £10 per hour NMW does not seem too much to ask.
NHS workers in England - including those at the top of the pay band- will be on the same rate of pay in April 2016 as they were on in April 2013... As unions, we have deliberately tried to take action that would minimise the impact on patients by only having a four- hour stoppage. Yet the underlying message we are getting from the Government's refusal to negotiate a settlement is that when, and until, it impacts on patients they won't take it seriously. So where does this leave us? Do they want us to escalate the action and cause real harm or will they talk to us about a reasonable settlement?
Watching students and officers at unions around the UK become a living wage employer has inspired me, and the other officers at Sussex, to make this history. As a union we need to provide services, and don't make a profit. It's not as if labour is used to line the pockets of tax evading billionaires. But that's not the point.
The simple truth is that many employers can afford to pay more. For large companies in sectors such as food production, banking, construction and software/computing - which employ over 1 million low- wage workers - paying all staff the living wage would mean an increase of less than 0.5 per cent of the total wage bill.
Over 200,000 care workers, the people entrusted to look after our elderly and disabled, are regularly being paid less than the National Minimum Wage (NMW) £6.50 an hour. Over 200,000 people, doing some of the most vital and important work in our society, are the victims of a crime which causes poverty and leads to untold pain and misery for our care users.
The real betrayal of Britain's poorest and most vulnerable people was Labour's support for this toxic policy. With 13 honourable exceptions who all deserve praise for actually doing what they were elected to do, Labour MPs acquiescently lined up behind the welfare cap. If an antelope feeds its calf to a lion, that's pretty shocking.