From: Coun Nader Fekri JP, (Calder Ward, CMBC), Cheetham Street, Hebden Bridge.
NEXT week sees the launch of the Living Wage Week, which is urging the introduction of a “living wage” of £7.20/hour (£8.30/hour in London).
Research shows that across the UK, nigh on five million, or one-in-five, workers and their families have an inadequate standards of living because they are being paid less than the living wage. That works out at more than 20,000 workers and their families here in Calderdale. A truly shocking state of affairs.
Although national minimum wages were first introduced in New Zealand in 1894, it was to be more than a century later that Tony Blair’s first government passed the relevant legislation. Even then, it was strongly opposed by both the CBI and the Conservatives, fearing that it would hit employment figures.
However, study after study has shown that there is no noticeable effect on employment levels.
Furthermore, paying a living wage does not actually cost an employer much more and yet makes a huge difference to the individuals and their families.
Finally, taxpayers in general benefit because, when businesses adopt a Living Wage, thousands of low-paid workers take fewer tax credits.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates there are up to £6bn savings to be made.
This is why the Labour Group on Calderdale Council has joined a long list of over 100 top employers, companies and organisations as diverse as Aviva, John Lewis and KPMG, who have made a public commitment to the living wage.
Most noticeable amongst whom is the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who having introduced a living wage rate has helped 10,000 of his employees and redistributed £100m to the lowest paid.
He also says that paying the living wage is “not only morally right, but makes good business sense too”.
Clear rules on taxation
From: Mike Smith, Birkby, Huddersfield.
ONCE again, Bill Carmichael highlights an area rich with hypocrisy in his item about tax hysteria (Yorkshire Post, October 26).
As he rightly points out, tax avoidance is legal and tax evasion is illegal. The boundaries are reasonably well defined and if Public Accounts Committee chairman Margaret Hodge or her fellow travellers are not happy with the rules, they had 13 years to change them. The rules have not significantly changed since then so one must assume they considered them fair.
At a personal level, claiming all your tax allowances is the first legal step in avoidance but I have never heard anyone question those or forego them on moral or ethical grounds.
I further suspect if all illegally evaded tax could be collected, it would probably make minimal difference to the sheer size of our national debt.
Whenever the subject of taxes and profits arises, the first problem is that the very word profit has always been anathema to those with Left-leaning opinions with their usual implications of greedy capitalists.
What they seem oblivious to is that profits finance economic growth and ultimately everything else. Most importantly, that applies to wealth-creating companies.
Street light concerns
From: Robert Carlton, Athol Crescent, Ovenden, Halifax.
WITH reference to the letter from Keith W Sturdy (Yorkshire Post, October 20) concerning North Yorkshire County Council cutting down on the number of street lights in some areas and the problem of faulty street lights, I have been reporting faulty street lights, missing grates and unlit traffic signs for over 10 years to Halifax Council and any problems have been dealt with efficiently and promptly.
I too, am unable to make constant calls to 0845 numbers, therefore usually I call in person to Northgate House, Halifax and report any problems on the highways.
I must praise Huddersfield Council who provide a freephone number to report any such issues which in my opinion encourages people to get involved in improving their area. Many issues are concerning safety, which tend to be dealt with more speedily.
Without having to worry about the cost of a telephone call I believe it’s a small price to pay. In this instance I think you have to be prepared to spend money but if it improves road safety and creates public participation you cannot put a price on that.
I am extremely concerned about North Yorkshire County Council’s decision to turn off street lights. I am sure it will increase crime or the fear of crime and put road safety at risk.
Savings to be found online
From: Scott Newsome, Cottingham Road, Hull.
WITH reference to Jayne Dowle’s column “What recession has taught us about shopping” (Yorkshire Post, October 29). I would go a step further. What the recession has really taught us is that shopping online is the way to go.
While shopping yesterday I noticed some speciality items I needed for a birthday were £3 to £4 more expensive in the shops than from their online counterparts. While this may not seem like a lot, this quickly adds up and could mean the difference between having the heating on for a bit longer for warmth.
This links into Paul Jeeves’ story on the same day about a fifth of workers not being paid enough to live on. If people aren’t getting enough money to live in even basic comfort they are better off shopping online for those extras which they may not be able to afford but need.