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Issue:- 14 April 2010


UNISON, the UK's leading union, is warning that the minimum wage rate rise is not enough to help the lowest paid cope with inflation. The union said this was bad news for the economy, which is in desperate need of strong demand to fuel growth and recovery. However, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned the government about further rises that could damage job creation. "Even a small increase in 2011's minimum wage could choke off retailers' vital potential to create new jobs." they said just before the announcement. UNISON response is that the rise in the adult rate, by 15p per hour, is totally outstripped by the rising cost of basic living. They also added that the 10p rise in the Apprentice Rate will not be enough to help young people, hit hard by the recession. Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said:- "This small increase is totally outstripped by the rising cost of essentials like food and fuel. It has been agreed that the vast majority of a low paid worker's pay is eaten up by basic living costs, so increases in inflation hits them hard. We know that many low paid workers are already struggling with heavy debt. Others are cutting back on food, and what they spend on their children. Not only does this show that many families are really struggling - it's also bad news for local shops and businesses. It's wrong to suggest that a smaller rise in the young people's rate is better for businesses. Hitting young people's spending power is a direct hit on those businesses. We need strong demand in our economy to stimulate growth and recovery. Young people also need a helping hand, as they are victims of a recession that they did nothing to cause. A bigger rise would have also helped restore the balance of fairness in our country - which is suffering hugely under the Tories. It seems incredible that MPs can claim expenses of £3.2 million in just 2 months, but young people are fobbed off with an extra 10p." But as Stephen Robertson, from the BRC, said in a press statement:- "The government must strike the right balance between higher wages and more jobs. Trading conditions are tough, higher costs, such as next April's National Insurance increase will pile on even more pressure for small businesses."

The new rates, which will come into force on 1 October 2011, are as follows:-

► £6.08 per hour for workers aged 21 and over - a 2.5% increase on the current £5.93 rate.

► £4.98 per hour for 18 to 20 year olds - a 1.2% increase on the current £4.92 rate.

► £3.68 per hour for 16 to 17 year olds - a 1.1% increase on the current £3.64 rate.

► £2.60 apprentice rate - a 4% increase on the current £2.50 rate.

BRC has also said that next year's increase must be no more than 1.7%, as a larger rise would seriously impede retailers' ability to maintain and create jobs.

All this comes as the government is also cracking down on employers who flout the minimum wage laws. It said it would name and shame offenders, publicising breaches when found.

So what do our readers think about these views? Email us to with your comments.

Did you know that when Labour introduced the national minimum wage in 1999, it was at a rate of £3.60 an hour?


THE NSPCC Hargreaves Centre in Everton, in the heart of the City, runs a Community Parenting Programme in partnership with the Liverpool Women’s Hospital. This programme involves parents supporting other parents who have asked for support to help them care for their children. They are calling on people in the Liverpool area to help make a difference to the lives of families across the region, by inviting people to become a community parenting volunteer.

“The pairing scheme gives the parent another person to turn to for emotional and personal support. The volunteers will work with families in Liverpool 8 and surrounding area to help them build on their own strengths and abilities, helping them to care for their children safely. The families we work with are often first time parents and just need some extra help and support. This scheme gives them the opportunity to build up a friendship with another parent who they can confide in and who can provide a support network. We want them to be able to relax and express themselves freely to someone who has the time to listen and support them.
said the NSPCC.

Following a successful recruitment drive last year, the NSPCC is now particularly appealing for both men and women who have a couple of hours to spare each week.

Lesley Moore Community parent co-ordinator added:- “We have a dedicated number of volunteers but really need more parents to give their time. We’re looking for people who can spare a couple of hours per week, with a sensitive and caring attitude towards others, reliable, a good listener and a good team player. In return we offer a free structured training course and regular supervision.”

Joanne Lewis was one of the people who responded after last year’s recruitment drive. She said:- “Bringing up my two children I was lucky enough to have a supportive network of friends and family around me, but not all families are as fortunate as my own and I decided I wanted to do something to make a difference. When I heard about the NSPCC community parenting programme I decided to give it a go and I’ve never looked back.”

Tracey Ugboaje Community Parent said:- “We’ve built up a great friendship and we meet once a week and sit and chat about whats been going on, sometimes we will go for a walk. To know I’m giving another parent the chance to chat, relax and offer help and advice is great and if they have any anxieties then I’m here to help and am someone to trust. I find the role very rewarding and would recommend it to anyone. if you’re prepared to give up a small amount of time for the sake of someone else its very worthwhile – and doesn’t cost a thing.”

If you could spare a couple of hours per week and are interested in finding out more about becoming a community parenting volunteer then the NSPCC would love to hear from you. Please contact Lesley Moore or Pauline Ashton on:- 0844 892 0264 or via email and find out more.

Opening of Liverpool’s new Museum of Liverpool

ON 19 July 2011 the Museum of Liverpool will open on a World Heritage Site at the City's Pier Head. The museum will tell the definitive story of Liverpool and its people and contain more than 6,000 items. More information at:-

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