It is the core of our values to treat people equally and decently. We believe in paying a fair wage for all co-workers regardless of how old they are and that also takes into account where they live. We agree with the Living Wage Foundation's definition of the "Living Wage", and whilst we think that the government has taken a step in the right direction, it doesn't go far enough.
A measure designed to "kick British businesses up their lazy arses". That was the humorous remark made by an unnamed Cabinet member to The Times this week, following George Osborne's announcement that by 2020 corporation tax will be cut to 18%... if businesses pay their workers a new living wage of £9.00 an hour.
I am calling for a people's quantitative easing - and asking my fellow candidates to join me in that call. The Bank of England must be given a new mandate to upgrade our economy to invest in new large scale housing, energy, transport and digital projects. This would give our economy a huge boost: upgrading our outdated infrastructure and creating over a million skilled jobs and genuine apprenticeships... But none of this was in the Budget. The Conservatives have chosen to keep on the path of managed decline.
There is work to be done to break the low pay trajectory of women who never properly get themselves into a situation to be able to work full time. This is about free pre-school childcare, and the ability to retrain while at the same time having an income and sorting out a family: issues which our benefits system has traditionally found it hard to grapple with.
Those inclined to judge might say it's irresponsible to spend money on anything other than the basic necessities when you're struggling financially, but where do you draw the line? Do you decide to wait until you're earning more or have paid off more of your debts before you get the kids a pet or take them on holiday, or do you realise that if you wait for those things to happen they'll have grown up and gone?
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?