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Suffolk's care staff deserve a living wage

The latest wage figures showed that pay is still lagging way behind price, writes Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Ipswich, Cllr David Ellesmere. More and more families are struggling just to get by. 

There are encouraging signs, though, that one solution to low pay - the Living Wage - is starting to be taken more seriously.

Last week UNISON and the Church of England reached a landmark agreement to turn all the Churchs 4,700 schools into Living Wage employers. 

And now a raft of top business leaders, including the chief executives of Kingfisher and Nomura, have called for the Minimum Wage to be increased at a faster rate now the economy is starting to recover. 

Sadly theres one group of people who still dont get it on low pay - Conservative county councillors. 

At the council meeting last week, Labour councillors tried to get Suffolk to do what Ipswich Borough Council has already done - become an accredited Living Wage employer. 

The Conservatives really showed their true colours when they voted this down. 

To become accredited you must not only pay your own staff the Living Wage but also make sure contractors working for you are paying it as well. 

This is where Suffolk County Council falls down. They already pay their own staff the Living Wage but they have privatised all the really low paid jobs. Many of their contractors are paying rock bottom wages.  

This is particularly true in the care sector. The majority of care workers are paid little more than the Minimum Wage. They are on zero hours contracts so are not guaranteed work. It is  common not to be paid for time spent travelling between the people they care for. 

Would you want your parents or grandparents being looked after by someone who is worrying whether they can pay the next bill or afford to put food on the table for their children?

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