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News Report Page 9 of 15
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Steve Rotheram Urges Employers to Pay Real Living Wage

STEVE Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, is marking National Living Wage Week by writing to the City Region's 50 biggest employers, asking them to introduce the Real Living Wage for their employees.  Across the Liverpool City Region, 155,000 people; more than a quarter of the workforce; are paid less than the Real Living Wage.A report from The Smith Institute, published in September  2018, showed that paying the Real Living Wage to just a ¼ of those currently paid less would provide a 1 off dividend to the local economy of ₤30 million, with an ongoing ₤10m a year boost, as well as raising those individuals' annual income by ₤1300 each.

Steve Rotheram said:- "It used to be the case that the best cure for poverty was finding a job, but that is no longer true. It is a national scandal that 1 in 8 people in work are living in poverty.  That is why I am writing to the 50 biggest employers in the Liverpool City Region, asking them to become Real Living Wage accredited employers.  Paying the Real Living Wage is not just the right thing to do, there are significant benefits for individuals, businesses and the wider economy. 93% of companies who have introduced the Real Living Wage say it has benefitted their business and research has shown that paying just a ¼ of those who currently don't receive the Real Living Wage would boost the City Region's economy by ₤30m as a 1 off, and by ₤10m every year from then on."

The Real Living Wage was devised by the charity the Living Wage Foundation, which argues that the Government's National Living Wage is not high enough to meet workers' needs, and encourages employers to adopt its more generous, independently calculated rate. The compulsory National Living Wage is currently ₤7.83 an hour for anyone over the age of 25. The Living Wage Foundation has announced the 2018/19 rate of the Real Living Wage is ₤9 an hour. The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority became the 1st combined authority in the country to become an accredited Real Living Wage employer in November 2017.

But what is not taken in to consideration about National Living Wage is that when wages go up, prices go up, thus forcing wages to be required to go up again later down the line.  This then ends up making our prices of products and services to costly, compared to those outside the UK and loss of business in the long run.  With Brexit, this is a dangerous cycle to be in.  Also small businesses are struggling more and more to stay afloat, due to ever increasing pressures from the rise in pension and NI contributions, to rates and also wages.  This also is affecting high streets and also innovation within the UK. What should be done, is not just ask big businesses to pay more, but also tax them more and use the money to help small businesses via boosting the likes of Tax Credits for their employees.  If you do that, the over all amount of people out of work would fall and with it, the cost of unemployment benefits would fall significantly.  Plus it would help the UK to reignite small businesses, in turn local economies would improve as would innovation.  Would you agree?   What are your thoughts on this?  Please email us to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com with you ideas and views on this every emotive topic.

Nationwide Boosts Local Housing Causes in North West and North Midlands by ₤500,000

COMMUNITY housing projects and charities are being urged to put their case forward as Nationwide; the UK's biggest building society; makes ₤500,000 available to help make a difference to communities across the North West and North Midlands. The Society is inviting applications for grants of up to ₤50,000 for housing projects that will strengthen local communities by supporting the most vulnerable, that find new approaches to increasing the supply of housing or by reinventing renting for both tenants and landlords. Applications will be accepted from across the North West and North Midlands, including:- Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Staffordshire, Cumbria and Merseyside.

Heather Hazley, Nationwide's Regional Director for the North West and North Midlands Region, said:- "As a building society, ensuring that everyone has a place fit to call home is at the heart of what we do. Nationwide was founded to help people save and borrow money for land and materials to build their own homes. 1 hundred and thirty years on, we still have the same core purpose; helping people into homes of their own. We recognise there is a housing crisis, resulting in many people living in unsuitable, insecure or unaffordable accommodation. So, we are delighted to be able to award ₤500,000 to communities across the North West and North Midlands to support housing projects and make a real difference."

A Community Board, which is comprised of Nationwide members, employees and housing experts has been appointed. The Board will review all the grant applications and award grants of up to ₤50,000. The Board and Nationwide branches within the Region will also be providing time and expertise to these charities. So far Nationwide has awarded ₤1.25 million in grants to 43 projects in other parts of the UK. This is part of a wider Community Grants programme through which Nationwide is investing ₤22 million in housing projects across the UK over 5 years. The programme is being delivered with support from the UK Community Foundations programme, the national network for all accredited Community Foundations across the UK. Nationwide is now inviting applications for housing community projects in the North West and North Midlands until 7 December 2018. Full details can be found online or in local Nationwide branches in this Region.

Heather Hazley continues:- "Our members voted for us to donate at least 1% of our pre-tax profits to good causes and asked that we focus on tackling housing issues.  This is a fantastic way for them to make a difference to their local communities and tell us exactly where our funding should be focused; after all, our members know their communities better than anyone else, both in the North West and North Midlands Region and across other Regions of the UK. We urge local housing projects and charities in that area to get involved and make an application, so we can make a real difference and deliver the best possible results, together."

Trash for cash

BIG hearted street cleaners in Liverpool have become real life alchemists by turning fly tipped junk into charity gold. And in the process they've salvaged a cool ₤20,000 for a City cause that works with children with life threatening conditions. Liverpool Street Scene Limited's (LSSL) fly tipping team are called out to clean up after irresponsible tippers every day of the week. At any 1 time up 15 Officers are at work taking unsightly and potentially dangerous heaps of junk away from communities across Liverpool. The thrifty team makes sure that junk such as:- old fridges, cookers, tyres and wood are sent away to be recycled. But until fairly recently any odd bits of discarded metal they found went straight to landfill. All that changed when crew member Frank Bellis came up with the idea of weighing the metal waste at a local scrap merchant. Street scene Operations Manager Adrian Devers explained:- "Disposing of the waste metal used to be costly and not very environmentally friendly, so when this idea came up it was the right thing to do. Not only did it solve the disposal problem, but it also provided an instant source of cash. The team and managers decided that any money we collected from the recycling of the scrap metal should go to a good cause within Liverpool."

The workers came up with the name Trash for Cash for the project and set aside a special collection skip at the Street Scene depot on Newton Road. Any reclaimed metal is sorted and stored in the skip before being weighed in at nearby North West Steel and Recycling. Over the past 2 years the crew has gathered more than ₤19,000 in scrap with the generous metal merchants donating the rest to make it up to a round ₤20k. The chosen charity was Zoe's Place Children's Hospice in West Derby. The Hospice provides a range of services including therapies and respite care for children with life limiting and life threatening illness aged 0 to 6 and their families. Founded by Professor Jack Scarisbrick MBE, in 1995, the facilities caters for 6 children and their families. At any 1 time the Hospice works with more than 50 local families.  Zoe's Place Fundraising Manager Carol Kirkham said:- "The treatments we offer include hydrotherapy, art and play therapy which not only help the children with their conditions but also contribute towards their growth and development. We have decided to use the money collected by Street Scene to continue to fund these vital services which will benefit many families and children for years to come.  It's a fantastic gesture and everyone involved with the Hospice is thrilled with the level of support we have received from the team. It's helping us to help babies and children and it's also benefiting the environment, so everyone wins."

And it doesn't stop there because the Street Scene team has decided that it will continue to support Zoe's Place with its metal collections on a permanent basis. Liverpool City Council's Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr James Noakes, said:- "This is a great initiative that is creating something extremely positive from a negative situation. Fly tipping is a blight on our communities which costs the Council many thousands of pounds a year to clean up. Not only that, but it is potentially dangerous and illegal. If you are caught fly tipping you could face prosecution. The fly tipping team do great work in cleaning up after those selfish and irresponsible people who fly tip and now they are doing great work for Zoe's Place, as well. Ultimately, we would prefer it if no 1 fly tipped in our communities but as long as this behaviour persists it's reassuring to know that some good in coming of it."

Residents can report fly tipping issues by visiting Liverpool City Council's website, searching for 'flytipping.'  For more information about Zoe's Place, visit:- Zoes-Place.Org.UK/Liverpool.

Care Workers Across the North West Face "Life Changing" Cuts to their Incomes

THOUSANDS of low paid workers who provide care for adults with learning difficulties have a worrying Christmas ahead after being told by their employers that they face big pay cuts, said UNISON.

So called:- 'top up' payments are made by care providers to staff who work sleep in shifts to ensure that their average hourly pay reaches the National Minimum Wage rate. The payments are worth ₤30 to ₤40 per sleep in shift, and make up a significant portion of support workers' incomes.

Now, 2 care employers who hold contracts across the North West have announced that they will stop paying top ups. Alternative Futures Group intend to stop paying the top ups, in January 2018, and Lifeways have announced that they will stop the payments with immediate effect. The 2 providers together employ some 2,500 staff. Some care workers do up to 3 sleep in shifts a week and stand to lose over ₤100 a week.

Claire is a care worker in the North West. She said:- "I will be affected massively as I do 2 sleeps a week. I'm a mum with 2 kids and just 1 wage, and I'm set to lose ₤240 a month from the 1st of January. That will be a kick in the teeth straight after Christmas.  We work hard at night. It's called:- 'carer's ear' the slightest little noise wakes us up as we care about the service users. You might be getting up to provide personal care or to roll someone over 6 or 7 times a night. You can't go anywhere and you are working on your own. We work 15 hours and then do a sleep in; the next day we are exhausted. There's a lot of responsibility involved and it's underpaid as it is."

Tracey works for Alternative Futures in Burnley. She said:- "This will have a very big impact on me financially. It's life changing. Just when we were getting back to having decent pay with minimum wage rises, this happens. Managing our finances is a rollercoaster, especially with Christmas coming up."

Tim Ellis, Regional Organiser for UNISON North West said:- "This is a mean spirited attack on the incomes of low wage workers who are performing valuable work. Alternative Futures and Lifeways are acting hastily and opportunistically. They are still getting the same level of funding from Councils, so their raid on workers' incomes is wholly unnecessary. Staff feel very strongly that this attack on them is unfair. Alternative Futures and Lifeways should listen to their staff and restore the sleep in top up payments immediately. Councils who commission services from these 2 providers should be insisting that they do not make these brutal cuts to the incomes of public service workers who are already on poverty pay."

A petition entitled:- 'Care at Night, Pay Us Right!' has been set up calling on the Chief Executive of Alternative Futures to continue to pay top up payments that can be signed now online.

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